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Early Rhode Island furniture featured at Yale exhibit

“Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830” is on display at the Yale University Art Gallery in New Haven, Conn., through Jan. 9, 2017. The groundbreaking exhibition opened Aug. 19 and presents a comprehensive survey of Rhode Island furniture from the colonial and early Federal periods.

The Yale University exhibit includes this Newport high chest of drawers by John Townsend.

Furniture pieces featured include high chests with intricate details such as shell carvings and ball-and-claw feet, traditional household pieces such as fall-front desks and bureau tables, elaborately carved side chairs and an impressive tall case clock, according to the gallery.

“Drawing together more than 130 exceptional objects from museums, historical societies and private collections, this showcase highlights major aesthetic innovations developed in the coastal New England region,” the gallery said in a statement. “In addition to iconic, stylish pieces from important centers of production like Providence and Newport, it also features simpler examples made in smaller towns and for export such as wooden benches and kitchen items like platters and tankards.

Other pieces in the Yale exhibit include this side chair from the Mabel Brady Garvan Collection.

“From an educational standpoint, the exhibition addresses the broad reach of Rhode Island’s furniture production, from the export trade boom at the turn of the 17th century and expansion throughout the 18th century to the gradual decline of the handcraft tradition into the 19th century.”

‘Have a Seat’ opens

“Have a Seat: Chairs by Kentucky Artisans” opened Sept. 17 at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea, Ky. The exhibit, on display through Feb. 25, 2017, features original chair designs by 33 artists.

Works include functional seating and art pieces constructed from a wide range of materials, including forged iron and steel, wood, sheet metal, felted wool, wire, natural vines and bark, clay, leather, acrylic, tree branches, recycled bourbon barrels, recycled Altoid boxes, as well as a variety of repurposed chairs, according to the gallery.

Each year, the Kentucky Artisan Center develops and presents several special exhibits to showcase works by Kentucky artisans. These exhibits focus on a specific medium, theme, technique or subject and often include artists and works not regularly on display at the center. The center features works by more than 700 artisans from more than 100 counties across the state.


Yale University Art Gallery, P.O. Box 208271, New Haven, CT 06520. Tel: 203-432-0600.

Kentucky Artisan Center at Berea, 200 Artisan Way, Berea, KY 40403. Tel: 859-985-5448.

This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue.

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