Bride's Chest

Edwin Thorn and Caleb Allen, with the help of Cornelius Kelley, built this oak and pine chest, held together with mortise and tenon joints and featuring "old hinges matched by the village blacksmith with iron draw-handles and key-plate."1 Decorating its three inset panels and a drawer front are abstracted tulips and leaves silhouetted in low relief. An inscription on its inside cover tells the story of the work's heritage and intended purpose: "Bride's Chest/ made by/ Edwin Thorn/ and/ Caleb Allen/ After the fashion of a/ two hundred year old chest now in/ Memorial Hall/ Deerfield/ Mass./ August 1901." The bridal chest as a furniture type had particular appeal because of its associations with domestic harmony, a nostalgic ideal for Colonial Revivalists and a decorative ideal for proponents of the Arts and Crafts movement. Bride's chests appear frequently in Deerfield craft exhibitions at this time.

  1. "Exhibition of the Arts and Crafts in the Martha Pratt Memorial," History and Proceedings of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, 1899-1904, Vol. IV, 276.

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