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Maker(s):Barnard, Julius
Culture:American (1769-after 1820)
Title:high chest
Date Made:probably 1794
Type:Furniture
Materials:wood: cherry, white pine; base metal: brass
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Northampton
Measurements:overall: 86 1/2 x 40 1/4 x 20 in.; 219.71 x 102.235 x 50.8 cm
Accession Number:  HD 63.164
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
1963-164T.jpg

Description:
High chest of drawers attributed to Julius Barnard who trained in the Eliphalet Chapin workshop tradition. This chest was purportedly originally owned by Governor Caleb Strong of Northampton along with a companion desk and bookcase (1246). Strong (1744/5-1819) was born and died in Northampton, Massachusetts, graduated from Harvard in 1764 and was admitted to the bar in 1772. He was a member of the General Court during the Revolution and the Northampton Committee of Safety; county attorney from 1776-1800; member of the state consitutional convention in 1779; state senator from 1780-1789; U.S. Senator from 1789-1796; and Massachusetts Governor from 1800-1807 and 1812-1816. The chest has a scroll top with lattice work, eleven drawers, and four cabriole legs ending in ball-and-claw feet.

Label Text:
This high chest illustrates the transmission of style from the East Windsor, Connecticut cabinetmaking shop of Eliphalet Chapin (1741-1807) to western Massachusetts towns via Chapin’s apprentices. Chapin introduced simplified Philadelphia furniture styles to Connecticut in 1770, training his apprentices, including Julius Barnard, in the techniques and designs he had learned while working in a Philadelphia cabinetmaking shop, 1767-1770. Barnard’s substitution of a turned center finial for an asymmetrical, carved cartouche, his use of brass fittings on the applied quarter-columns, and slight variation in his carving technique are the main indicators that he, rather than Chapin, made this high chest.

The son of Northampton clothier Abner Barnard and Rachel Catlin, Julius Barnard returned to Northampton soon after finishing his apprenticeship in 1792 and established a general cabinetmaking shop. In 1801 he relocated to Windsor, Vermont, lived briefly in Hanover, New Hampshire, and in 1809, moved to Montreal, Canada. By 1812 he had returned to western Massachusetts and settled in Pittsfield, where he made furniture until he defaulted on loans and left town—disappearing from the historical record.

The lattice spandrels in the broken-scroll pediment are carved to appear as if they are woven. The fluted quarter-columns are embellished with brass capitals, bases and stop-flutes—decorations most often used on the bonnets and cases of tall-case clocks. Instead of an asymmetrical cartouche, the central finial is a larger turned version of the side finials.

Original owner:
Governor Caleb Strong (1744/5-1819) of Northampton originally owned this high chest. After graduating from Harvard in 1764, Strong was admitted to the bar in 1772 and began a legal and political career including serving as state senator from 1780-1789, United States senator from 1789-1796, and Massachusetts governor from 1800-1807 and 1812-1816.

This high chest illustrates the transmission of style from the East Windsor, Connecticut cabinetmaking shop of Eliphalet Chapin (1741-1807) to western Massachusetts towns via Chapin’s apprentices. Working in Connecticut from 1770, Chapin trained apprentices, including Julius Barnard, in techniques and designs he learned working in a Philadelphia cabinetmaking shop from 1767 to 1770. The turned center finial (a larger version of the side finials) in place of an asymmetrical carved cartouche, brass fittings on the applied quarter-columns, and variations in style of carving are the main indicators that Barnard, rather than Chapin, made this high chest.

The lattice spandrels in the broken-scroll pediment are carved to appear as if they are woven. The fluted quarter-columns are embellished with brass capitals, bases and stop-flutes, features often used on the bonnets and cases of tall-case clocks.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+63.164

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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