Published: November 21, 2000
MANCHERSTER, N.H. – On November 19, a Shaker cupboard over a double chest of drawers sold for $212,750 at Willis Henry Auctions, a sum believed to be the third highest price paid for a Shaker furniture lot at auction.
The circa 1850 cupboard hails from the South village of the Mount Lebanon, N.Y. community, and had been in the collection of Jerome and Sybil Count. The winning bidder was New York collector Eric Maffei.
“It is a great piece of furniture,” he commented. “It is something to see a cupboard of that form that started life as a freestanding piece. I have seen other pieces with a secret drawer of that sort. [One] drawer needs to be repaired, and the center foot needs to be looked at.”
The large cupboard (five feet, six inches high by 51 1/2 inches wide) is a form more often seen with built-in furniture rather than independent pieces. It was constructed from butternut, and had the fine yellow patina associated with that wood when it has been exposed to the atmosphere for a century or more. The top left drawer was less deep than the case, and a secret document drawer was located in the space behind it. The cupboard was supported by slightly tapered feet. An unusual feature was a massive medial foot set back from the front of the cupboard so that was not visible in use. That foot help carry the weight of such a large cupboard.
Bob Jackman will provide a full report of this auction in an upcoming issue of Antiques and The Arts Weekly.
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