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Unknown artist, American, Joined chest with drawer, 1690-1725, Museum Appropriation Fund


Joined chest with drawer

Unknown artist, American, Hadley; Massachusetts
Joined chest with drawer
Oak and pine
88.9 x 111.4 x 47 cm (35 x 43 7/8 x 18 1/2 inches)
Museum Appropriation Fund 19.293

This joined chest is one of a group of 125 dubbed “Hadley” chests. Made between 1680 and 1740 in the Connecticut River Valley, the chests share distinctive decorative and construction techniques. Hadley decoration features repeating patterns of shallow-carved scrolls, lobed leaves, and tulips. Before construction, Hadley chest joiners beveled the long edges of each rail and stile to create the chamfered edge evident at the inner side of this chest’s foot. The drawer edges and other parts were shaped to cover this unique angled edge. Originally painted red and black, Hadley chests served as hope or marriage chests. Tucked below two leaves that join to form a heart, the “HS” inscribed on this chest are the initials of the bride-to-be.

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