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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


Title:Hadley Chest
Date Made:late 17th-early 18th century
Materials:white oak, white pine with red paint
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Hadley
Accession Number:  AC 1962.24
Credit Line:Gift of Kenneth O. Shrewsbury (Class of 1914) and Anassa Sterrett Shrewsbury

Label Text:
This lidded chest represents a type of carved trunk that artisans working throughout the Connecticut River Valley produced in some quantity for prosperous clients in the early colonial era. A profusion of exuberant natural (and sometimes religious) motifs, shallowly carved or incised across the front and both ends distinguishes its style. The dynamic contrast between red and black tones on the Mead’s chest further animates its surface, while the initials “S. F.” in the front center panel likely refer to the individual, possibly a new bride, for whom the chest was made.

Dismissed throughout the nineteenth century as embarrassingly unsophisticated, such examples of untu tored, or “folk,” art and craft gained esteem in the early twentieth century for their seemingly directness of expression and abstract decoration.

RRG, 2011

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