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Maker(s):Johnson, Edmund (attributed to his workshop)
Title:breakfront secretary
Date Made:1795-1810
Materials:wood: mahogany, mahogany veneer, yellow-poplar, spruce, southern yellow pine, white pine, red maple; base metal: brass; glass
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Salem
Measurements:overall: 93 x 67 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.; 236.22 x 171.45 x 52.07 cm
Accession Number:  HD 85.016
Credit Line:Gift of Mrs. J. Philip Walker
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield

Breakfront secretary in two cases composed of a tripart facade with recessed ends; the uppercase highlighted by an arched and recessed pediment, with stringing on either side of a central plinth over glazed doors with geometric windows; the lower case composed of two large central drawers the upper concealing a writing compartment over and area which is flanked by a small drawer of a door, the right hand one concealing vertical partitions for account books. George Alfred Cluett (1873-1955), of Troy, New York, and Williamstown, Massachusetts, collected American furniture from around 1901, shortly after he and Edith Tucker were married, through the mid-1920s. Cluett was prominent among early collectors. For the first museum exhibition of American furniture, The Hudson-Fulton Exhibition, opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1909, Cluett loaned 22 objects. Cluett, whose family business became Arrow Shirts, finished collecting before Henry Francis DuPont began to amass objects for what became the core of the Winterthur Museum in Delaware. The Cluett family donated most of its collection to Historic Deerfield beginning in 1960, with its last gifts given in 2003. Cluett’s keen connoisseurship, focused on Classical objects (contemporary to his grandparents’ lives) is notable as he collected before the publication of the first seminal reference books on American antiques. Moreover, the early twentieth-century collectors focused on the so-called Pilgrim Century, which predates the Classical era by over one hundred years. Cluett was particularly intrigued by the work of craftsmen including Seymour, McIntire, Phyfe, and Lannuier. Cluett’s desire for privacy, and reverence for times past has long obscured his creative connoisseurship and legacy as one of the earliest and influential collectors of American furniture.

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