Cultivating Style in a Multiethnic World: New York Furniture, 1640‒1860

wooden chair

March 1, 2015

chest and stand

Chest of drawers, attributed to Thomas Brookman, carving attributed to Henry Hardcastle, New York, NY, 1750-55. Gift of Henry Francis du Pont 1954.86

Settled by the Dutch and later claimed by the English, New York, from the start, was “a Babel of peoples—Norwegians, Germans, Italians, Jews, Africans . . . Walloons, Bohemians, Munsees, Montauks, Mohawks, and many others,” as writer Russell Shorto has observed. In the landscapes they shaped, buildings and furniture they made, New Yorkers created a place “unlike any other, either in the North American colonies or anywhere else.” This unique legacy is reflected in New York furniture featuring elaborate Dutch-inspired turnings, solid English construction methods, French sculptural carving, and Germanic painted decoration. In assembling the collection at Winterthur, Henry Francis du Pont created a world-class destination for viewing New York furniture in all of its splendid variety.

This exhibition is organized in conjunction with the 2015 Sewell C. Biggs Winterthur Furniture Forum, “From New Netherland to Empire State: 
New York Furniture,” March 4–7, 2015.


*Image at top: Side chair, attributed to William Buttre, probably Albany, NY, 1815-18. Gift of Henry Francis du Pont 1952.50

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