Samuel McIntire (1757–1811) was one of America’s most versatile artists during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, when the young nation explored new intersections among ideas, concepts, and cultures to create the foundation of its artistic traditions. Recognized as the architect who transformed his birthplace, Salem, Massachusetts, into the epitome of an elegant American town, after 1795 he also gained prominence as a wood carver. The original design vocabulary that he developed from confident and ambitious experimentation produced one of the first significant carving traditions in the new nation.
McIntire played a major role in expressing the new British neoclassical style, which drew its primary inspiration from the art and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome. He then developed his own distinct version of the style to express the beliefs and aspirations of the first generation of Americans to experience economic, political, and artistic freedom. McIntire worked cooperatively with the town’s leading cabinetmakers, carpenters, and shipbuilders, providing them with carved ornamentation, but his most important surviving carvings are found on furniture and woodwork of his own design done for Salem’s Derby family. His sensitivity to design as a whole produced some of the most beautiful rooms created during the Federal period (1780–1820).
Interactive Tour of McIntire's Salem
Take an interactive journey through historic Salem, Massachusetts to visit the distinctive buildings designed by Samuel McIntire. An 1820’s map will be your guide to explore private and public buildings, architectural drawings, elaborate interior carvings and furniture, all part of this unique tour.