These painted cabinets were often presented to brides. Many examples never left the western region of current Massachusetts state. In 1883, a bargain hunter in search of relics of the art of the American colonies buys a piece of furniture in the town of Hadley. He names it his Hadley chest and this perfectly relevant wording passed as the common designation.
The most usual Hadley model is a square chest on four legs with three panels in its upper part and two transverse drawers in its lower part. The front side was painted in foliate and floral motifs within half round patterns prepared with the compass. The original inspiration for these types of furniture has not been identified.
The Hannah Barnard cupboard is a flamboyant example. The top panel is here replaced by a body with columns that can be used as a dresser. The maiden name of the bride is inscribed therein in very large letters amidst hearts and diamonds that are definitely a sign of love from the merry bridegroom. The wedding took place in 1715 in Hadley.
Three other pieces of furniture was certainly executed by the same craftsman as the Hannah Barnard cupboard, as evidenced by the painted patterns and by the similarity of the carpentry techniques. One of them is for sale by Christie's in New York on January 22, lot 56.
This chest of drawers 1.10 m high that also long remained in the Hadley area is in an extraordinary original condition. The analysis of seepage of the paint into the wood shows that it was never overpainted. It still carries the incisions by the dry point compass over which the patterns were painted. The colors are darkened by layers of varnish that modern chemistry may perhaps help to remove.
SOLD for $ 1.02M including premium
I invite you to watch the video shared by Christie's.