New England Begins 1620-1730 Colonial Expressions in the Georgian Era 1730-1790 Neoclassicism in the New Nation 1790-1840 Industry, Innovation, and Tradition 1835-1950 Reaction and Reform 1870-1945 The Factory and the Studio 1920-2013

Furniture makers in this period embraced the elegant late baroque style in which emphasis was placed on line and form rather than ornament. more

In the World

  • 1741George Frideric Handel composes Messiah
  • 1760Ascension of George III
  • 1754Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Directory published

In Massachusetts

  • 1770Boston Massacre
  • 1773Boston Tea Party
  • 1775Battle of Lexington and Concord

Colonial Expressions in the Georgian Era

Curving Outward, 1730-1760

The late baroque style was adopted in the central and western parts of the state as the second quarter of the eighteenth century progressed. It remained stylish into the 1770s and beyond.

High Chest by Joseph Hosmer
This Joseph Hosmer high chest resembles Boston furniture of the period but is made of cherry that probably came from New Hampshire, rather than the tropical mahogany favored by Boston makers.

The style was transmitted from Boston primarily through the immigration of craftsmen trained in the new styles and techniques of cabinetmaking.  But craftsmen in communities such as Concord and elsewhere in the central and western parts of the state created their own idiosyncratic versions of the late baroque style. They often used maple and cherry (as opposed to walnut) as a primary wood.

As is the case in other periods, furniture in western Massachusetts is often related in design to pieces made in adjacent parts of Connecticut, especially along the Connecticut River Valley.

Selected Bibliography

  • Hosley, William N., Jr., and Gerald W.R. Ward, eds.  The Great River:  Art and Society of the Connecticut Valley, 1635-1820.  Hartford, Conn.:  Wadsworth Atheneum, 1985.  (See esp. essay on furniture by Philip Zea.)
  • Kaye, Myrna.  “Concord Case Furniture:  Cabinetry Twenty Miles from the Bay.”  In The Bay and the River, 1600-1900, ed. Peter Benes, 29-42.  Boston:  Boston University, 1982.
  • Richards, Nancy E., and Nancy Goyne Evans, with Wendy A. Cooper and Michael Podmaniczky.  New England Furniture at Winterthur:  Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods.  Winterthur, Del.:  Winterthur Museum, 1997.
  • Wood, David F.  “A Group of Concord, Massachusetts, Furniture.”  Antiques 151, no. 5 (May 1997):  742-47.
  • Wood, David F., ed.  The Concord Museum:  Decorative Arts from a New England Collection.  Concord, Mass.:  Concord Museum, 1996.

View All Furniture Highlights