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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst


Maker(s):Clay, Daniel (attributed)
Culture:American (1770-1848)
Date Made:1794-1800
Materials:wood: cherry, yellow-poplar, basswood; base metal: brass
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Greenfield
Measurements:overall: h: 74 w: 45 d: 21 1/2 in.
Accession Number:  HD P.049
Credit Line:Lucius D. Potter Memorial Collection

Chest-on-chest in cherry that was originally mahoganized, with a basswood and yellow-poplar interior, attributed to Daniel Clay (1770-1848). Born in New London, Conn., Clay probably trained in the Hartford area (or perhaps New York) with a cabinetmaker familiar with New York fashions; he moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts sometime before Nov. 1794, marrying Lucinda Smead in 1795. In 1794, he advertised in the "Greenfield Gazette" and had a paper label printed, two of which appear on the interior and exterior of this upper case: "CABINET WORK / DANIEL CLAY, / AT HIS SHOP IN GREENFIELD, /MAKES all kinds of Cabinet and Shop Join-/ery Work, and constantly/ keeps an assortment on hand/ which he will sell on reasonable/ terms, for Cash, all kinds of/ Country Produce & Lumber,/ or approved Credit. Every/ favour will be duly acknowl-/edged, by their humble ser-/vant,/ Daniel Clay./ November 4, 1794." He also made Windsors and fancy chairs, Pembroke, dressing, and card tables, clock cases, candlestands, chests, and coffins. He expanded his business to include other ventures, but eventually all failed and he moved to NYC in 1832 to become a druggist. The upper chest has a flat top edged with crown molding over five graduated drawers; the lower chest has mid-molding over three graduated drawers, a plain apron, and molded bracket feet. The brasses have been replaced. The attribution to Clay is based on the use of lamb's tongues and fluted chamfered corners on the base (similar to the Clay-labeled clock case 1962), molded bracket feet, and many details of the construction. No blind dovetails on the feet, vertical backboards on both chests, the proper right side of the lower case is chamfered. The tops of the drawers are consistent with labeled examples by Clay.

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