Exhibitions

Chest of Drawers, 1858-66, attributed to Nathaniel Gould.

Marblehead Historical Society and Museum. Photographed in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion (ca. 1766-68), 170 Washington Street, Marblehead. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Dennis Helmar Photography.

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould

On view November 15, 2014 to March 29, 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.

 

Images

Detail of ball-and-claw foot, Drop-Leaf Table, 1671-81, probably Nathaniel Gould.

Detail of ball-and-claw foot, Drop-Leaf Table, 1671-81, probably Nathaniel Gould.

Private collection. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Dennis Helmar Photography

Nathaniel Gould's Account Book (1763-90).

Nathaniel Gould's Account Book (1763-90).

Nathan Dane Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society, Boston. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Dennis Helmar Photography.

Side Chair, 1762-81 (Peabody Essex Museum) and Stand Table, 1761-81 (Private Collection).

Side Chair, 1762-81 (Peabody Essex Museum) and Stand Table, 1761-81 (Private Collection).

Both attributed to Nathaniel Gould. Photographed in Derby House (1762), 168 Derby Street, Salem, Massachusetts. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Dennis Helmar Photography.

Chest of Drawers, 1858-66, attributed to Nathaniel Gould.

Chest of Drawers, 1858-66, attributed to Nathaniel Gould.

Marblehead Historical Society and Museum. Photographed in the Jeremiah Lee Mansion (ca. 1766-68), 170 Washington Street, Marblehead. © 2014 Peabody Essex Museum. Photo by Dennis Helmar Photography.

Related Events

Members-Only Gallery Talk ›
In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould
Saturday, January 17, 2015 at 9am
Reservations by January 13

Members $15

Dean Lahikainen, The Carolyn and Peter Lynch Curator of American Decorative Art, leads this gallery talk before the museum opens.

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould ›
DEMONSTRATION, LUNCH & GALLERY TOUR
Saturday, January 24, 2015 from 9am - 3pm
Reservations by January 20

Members $160, nonmembers $175

Experience firsthand what it might have been like to spend a morning with Nathaniel Gould. Visit the Beverly workshop of Philip C. Lowe, director of the Furniture Institute of Massachusetts, have lunch in PEM's Bartlett Gallery and finish up with a tour of the exhibition, led by Lowe. Directions sent upon registration.

Phillip C. Lowe will also be giving a gallery tour at the museum on Saturday, February 7, 2015. Reservations necessary.

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould ›
SPECIAL GALLERY TOUR
Saturday, February 7, 2015 from 9am - 10am
Reservations by February 5

Members $15, nonmembers $20

Join master furniture maker Philip C. Lowe as he leads this special tour, which focuses on the terminology, design, layout and techniques that Nathaniel Gould used to create his masterpieces.

Further Reading