On November 14, 2015, we will kick off our new PFG project with Al Breed at his Rollinsford Shop. The project is reproduction of the Joseph and Bathsheba Pope Valuables Cabinet. The original 16-inch-tall chest made in Salem Village (now Danvers Massachusetts) around 1679 sold at a 2000 Christies auction for an amount well in excess of one million dollars.
This fancy chest of riven oak was a rare survivor from the period when “colonists were more worried about survival than furniture” notes Wendy Moonan of The New York Times and she continues “...it is a fancy chest commissioed for a wealthy client.” Philip Zea of Deerfield notes, “Think of it as a safe” and “…parlor furniture and was meant to be shown off.”
The original chest is Renaissance –inspired and has many embellishments including applied ebonized columnar spindles, an octagonal plaque, carvings (both sides and front) and hand-hammered brass pulls. Inside there are 10-drawers intended to house jewelry, money, deeds and writing materials according to Zea. The original is attributed to James Symonds (1636-1714).
The Pope Chest is beautiful in appearance and given its height, it could easily serve as a storage piece on a desktop. Al will cover woodworking methods not taught in earlier PFG classes including riving oak. The November meeting will begin with a demonstration of this technique and we will make available riven stock for those who plan to build the chest. Drawings will also be available.
This project follows our field trip to Historic Deerfield several weeks ago. There we met Curator and President Phil Zea who took us through similar chests of the period. We will have a short slide presentation of that event and some of the key points for those who did not make the trip.
I am looking forward to seeing you on November 14….Ed Taylor