Shaker Red-painted Pine Blanket Chest over Drawer, attributed to Brother Gilbert Avery, Mount Lebanon, New York, 1837, the hinged lift lid with rounded front and applied tongue and groove end moldings, opens to a well with lidded till and interior drawer, the dovetail-constructed box with inlaid escutcheons, the single drawer with beveled edge and turned wooden pulls, on a dovetailed bracket base, the backboard inscribed "Made April. 1837/Canaan," and with blue label "THE BERKSHIRE MUSEUM/ANDREWS/#49," the pulls appear to be original, old surface, (minor imperfections), ht. 27 3/4, case wd. 40, case dp. 18 in.
Provenance: Acquired by the Andrewses from the Second Family at Mount Lebanon in 1928.
Literature: The Magazine Antiques, July 1928, p. 134; Shaker Furniture: The Craftsmanship of an American Communal Sect, plate 19; Erwin Christensen, The Index of American Design (The MacMillan Company, New York, 1950), p. 23, plate 41; Shaker: Furniture and Objects from the Faith and Edward Deming Andrews Collections Commemorating the Bicentenary of the American Shakers, by A.D. Emmerich and A.H. Benning (Washington, DC: Renwick Gallery of the National Collection of Fine Arts by the Smithsonian Institution Press, 1973), p. 55, plate 8; The Book of Shaker Furniture, by John Kassay (Amherst, Massachusetts: University of Massachusetts Press, 1980), pp. 112-13; Shaker: A Uniquely American Aesthetic, n.p.; Encyclopedia of Shaker Furniture, p. 186; The Complete Book of Shaker Furniture, Timothy Rieman and Jean M. Burks (Harry N. Abrams, Inc., New York, 1993), pp. 138-39, plate 60; and Gather Up the Fragments, p. 163.
Exhibitions: Berkshire Museum, 1932; Berkshire Museum, 1940; Renwick, 1973 (see Lot 124 for more information).
This chest was published in the Andrewses' first article on Shaker furniture in the August 1928 issue of The Magazine Antiques. They acquired it that year from the Second Family, Mount Lebanon. It is built of pine and finished with red paint and inlaid escutcheons. The lid has breadboard ends typical of Shaker chests. The case is dovetailed and outfitted with iron hinges and screws and steel and brass locks. The original keys remain with the piece, and the lock is operable. It has been attributed to Brother Gilbert Avery who moved between various families at Mount Lebanon, but was buried at Canaan. In Shaker Furniture the Andrewses state: "Tradition ascribes the chest to Gilbert Avery." The following is inscribed on the back of the case: "Made April. 1837. Canaan." If Avery did construct this chest, he was sixty-four years old at the time. He was also a chair-maker and the father of prominent Shaker leader Elder Giles Avery. An illustration of the piece, made by an artist working at the Andrewses' home, was published in The Index of American Design (at left). Faith Andrews used the chest for many years in her bedroom.
shrinkage crack full width of top (excluding ends), interior bottom of well with 5 inch square hole cut in it, minor paint abrasions.
The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.