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Massachusetts museum features Nathaniel Gould’s work

The Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Mass., recently opened “In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould,” a celebration of the craftsmanship of one of the most important American furniture makers of the 18th century. This exhibition went on view Nov. 15 and will run through March 29, 2015.

Gould's chest of drawers.

Until the recent discovery of the Salem cabinetmaker’s detailed ledgers and daybooks, Gould’s life and legacy was largely unknown. This is the first exhibition to present new scholarship based on the discovered documents that cast fresh light on and enhance our understanding of, American furniture history, according to the museum.

“The exhibition also invites exploration into the life, times and social mores of early America through the lens of one of the country’s earliest and most successful woodworkers. Stately desks, bombé chests and scalloped-top tea tables made of the finest imported mahogany are presented alongside portraits of clients, archival materials, decorative arts and an interactive workbench and desk provide insight into the makers and consumers of 18th-century American design and culture,” the museum said in a statement.

Gould's desk.

This exhibition is part of the museum’s series, “Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.”

The exhibition is accompanied by a 284-page book by Kemble Widmer and Joyce King. It includes 170 images, detailed appendices and essays by Dean Lahikainen, Glenn Adamson, Daniel Finamore and Elisabeth Garrett Widmer.

Pritam & Eames closes

Gould's side chair and stand table.

Pritam & Eames, a gallery in East Hampton, N.Y., specializing in American studio furniture, announced the closing of the brick-and-mortar part of its business at the end of October. But the gallery will continue to have an online presence for sales and commissions.

“Although there is a certain bittersweet quality to leaving our Race Lane location after 34 years of operation there, developing the Internet dimension of our business is intriguing and helps keep that emotion at bay,” gallery partner Bebe Pritam Johnson said in a statement. “The gallery’s closing was determined in part because most of our clients, whose support was crucial in our first three decades, have fulfilled their furniture needs after years of collecting. It was time to refocus our energies.”


The Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St., Salem, MA 01970. Tel: 978-745-9500.

Pritam & Eames.

This article originally appeared in the December 2014 issue.

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