Exhibitions

Nathaniel Gould

Courtesy of Historic New England. Photo by Gavin Ashworth.

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould

On view November 15, 2014 to March 1, 2015

Located in the: Special Exhibition Galleries

Once an obscure figure in American furniture history, Nathaniel Gould is now recognized as Salem's premier 18th-century cabinetmaker. New scholarship, based on the recent discovery of his detailed account ledgers and daybooks, has led to the identification and re-attribution of many pieces of furniture, including monumental desks and bookcases, bombé chests and scalloped top tea tables carved from the finest imported mahogany. Gould's work is distinguished by its careful attention to graining, distinctive carved ball-and-claw feet, extended knee returns and superbly carved pinwheels and scallop seashells. In Plain Sight presents 20 exemplary works of Gould's furniture alongside paintings, archival materials, decorative arts and digital media elements that provide insight into the makers and consumers of 18th-century American design and culture.

This exhibition was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum with major support from:

The Americana Foundation

The Henry Luce Foundation

The Lynch Foundation

Nancy and George Putnam

Richard C. von Hess Foundation

Generous support provided by:

Jonathan B. Loring

Robert and Elizabeth Owens

Skinner Inc.

Support provided by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum. Additional support provided by many individual donors to the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.

 

Related Events

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters ›
Conversation
Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 11am - 12pm
Reservations by November 12

Woodworker Peter Korn joins Michelle Moon, assistant director for adult programs and avid participant in the maker movement, in a conversation about the rewards of creative practice. Korn is the founder of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit school in Maine. Peter Korn signs copies of his book "Why We Make Things and Why It Matters" after the talk.

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould ›
Opening Day Events
Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 11am - 4pm

Celebrate the craftsmanship of Salem's premier cabinetmaker with curator talks, gallery tours and furniture-making demonstrations.

 

Conversation

Why We Make Things and Why It Matters
11 am-noon | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by November 12

Woodworker Peter Korn joins Michelle Moon, assistant director for adult programs and avid participant in the maker movement, in a conversation about the rewards of creative practice. Korn is the founder of the Center for Furniture Craftsmanship, an internationally respected nonprofit school in Maine.

Demonstration

Furniture Making with the Pros
Noon-4 pm | Atrium 

Master furniture maker Philip C. Lowe demonstrates the art of carving furniture, employing the same methods available in the 18th century. Then, with the help of Lowe's students, try your hand at working with simple hand tools.

Panel Discussion

All in the Details
1-2:15 pm | Morse Auditorium
Reservations by November 12

Researchers and "history detectives" Kemble Widmer, Joyce King and Elisabeth Garrett Widmer join PEM curators Dean Lahikainen and Daniel Finamore to discuss their revolutionizing discoveries about the life and work of cabinetmaker Nathaniel Gould.

Made possible by the Lyceum Lecture Fund.

Gallery Tour

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould
3 pm | meet at information desk
Tickets available day of program

Join our gallery guides for an in-depth tour of Gould's handmade masterpieces.

 

Made possible by the Lowell Institute

Furniture Making with the Pros ›
Demonstration
Saturday, November 15, 2014 from 12pm - 4pm

Master furniture maker Philip C. Lowe demonstrates the art of carving furniture, employing the same methods available in the 18th century. Then, with the help of Lowe's students, try your hand at working with simple hand tools.

Further Reading