The Cabinetmaker and the Carver

The Cabinetmaker & the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections

Cover of The Cabinetmaker and the CarverBy Gerald W. R. Ward. Foreword by Dennis Fiori.

For centuries, Boston has been one of the most important furniture-making centers in America. Soon after the town’s founding in 1630, Boston’s joiners and turners were the first craftsmen to make furniture in British North America. The city’s cabinetmakers contributed to the art and craft of furniture making throughout the elegant colonial and federal periods, when Boston was a major center for furniture in the baroque, rococo, and neoclassical styles. Its factories and designers were also a source of fine furniture for another century, creating major pieces in the various revival styles of the mid 19th century, as well as in the arts and crafts and colonial revival modes of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The Cabinetmaker and the Carver provides an opportunity to see a carefully selected group of significant examples of Boston furniture representing the trajectory of this great tradition. These objects illustrate many of the local characteristics that distinguish Boston work from that of other cities; they also open a window on Bostonians’ tastes and preferences. Created by many of the city’s most talented cabinetmakers, carvers, turners, and other craftsmen, nearly all of this furniture is drawn from distinguished local collections, providing a rare public glimpse of these privately held treasures.

Published on the occasion of an exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society, October 4, 2013, through January 17, 2014, The Cabinetmaker and the Carver: Boston Furniture from Private Collections is part of Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture, a collaborative project of the Massachusetts Historical Society and 10 other institutions.

Gerald W. R. Ward is the Senior Consulting Curator and The Katharine Lane Weems Senior Curator of American Decorative Arts and Sculpture Emeritus at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

64 pages, 80 color illustrations
Distributed by the University of Virginia Press

$30 Paperback (2013)    ISBN: 978-1-936520-06-0

Upcoming Events

Online Event; Conversation

11 Places That Have Shaped Innovation in Boston, 1636-2021

12Apr 5:30PM 2021
This is an online program

Author of the recently-published book Innovation Economy and longtime Boston Globe columnist, Scott Kirsner, will take you on a photographic tour of 11 places ...

Seminar; Environmental History Seminar; Online Event

Kaleidoscope Metropolis: Autonomy and Integration in the Fractured City

13Apr 5:15PM 2021
This is an online event.

By the 1950s, just as technocratic consensus settled on the opinion that Boston’s metropolitan problems demanded municipal consolidation, meaningful regional ...

Online Event; Conversation; Racial Injustice Series

Confronting Racial Injustice: Boston School Desegregation through the Rearview Mirror

15Apr 6:00PM 2021
This is an online program

In 1972, a group of African American parents sued city and state officials over segregation within the Boston Public Schools. After a trial, a federal court determined ...

From our Blog

This Week @MHS

Join us for a program this week! Here is a look at what is going on: - Tuesday, 29 January, 5:15 PM: Better Teaching through Technology, 1945-1969, with Victoria Cain, Northeastern ...

Founder to Founder

Like so many good stories here at the Historical Society, it began with a reference question. Jeremy Belknap, hunting through his sources, asked Vice President John Adams for some help. Belknap, the ...

Read more from our blog

Have you seen?