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Corner cupboard

1800-1815
Origin: America, Maryland, Frederick County
OH: 99 3/4"; OW:59"; OD:28"
Black walnut, tulip poplar, and glass
Museum Purchase, The Sara and Fred Hoyt Furniture Fund
Acc. No. 2010-29
Appearance: Two part corner cupboard. Upper case: broken scrolled pediment with a molded cornice ending in flat roundels and central fan shaped cartouche; cartouche and roundels decorated with stenciled, gilded rosettes and floral motifs; two arched glazed doors with eight panes each and upper sections with mullions carved with leaves and rosettes around three additional smaller sections of glass on each door; fluted pilasters with carved capitals of vertical leaves with a gilded, stenciled rosette above flank cabinet doors; sides of cabinet and base canted back; interior of cupboard has four fixed shelves, the bottom shelf has two long thin slots cut parallel to and into front of shelf. Lower case: molded mid molding above two side by side drawers above two recessed flat paneled cupboard doors, all flanked by fluted pilasters toped by gilded, stenciled rosettes; over base molding and swelled bracket feet.

Construction:
Top case: The top assembly rests on a top shelf that is recessed 4" from front of the cabinet and 4½" from the rear stile. The assembly is comprised of 4 panels forming a cove top. The top and side panels slope downward toward the back to the fourth board which forms the back of the cove. (The PL side panel is actually two boards although it was clearly designed for one board and the current configuration may be an early replacement.) The panels comprising the top assembly are nailed to each other, to the top shelf and to lath that is nailed to the back of the arched pediment and supports the top board of the assembly. The voids caused by the recessed top shelf are filled in the front with boards that butt join the exterior sides of the top assembly and are nailed to the outer front edges of the top shelf, and in the rear a board butt joined to the back of the top assembly that rests on top of and is nailed to the backboards and rear stile.

The broken scrolled pediment is of two pieces, tongue and groove joined at the center of the arch and mortised and pinned into the front stiles which have been notched to receive them. The two piece cornice moldings are nailed to the pediment as is the stenciled central fan-shaped cartouche. The outer edges of the front stiles are mitered and glued (with probable later nails) to the mitered side stiles. The bottom rail is mortised and pinned to the front stiles. Fluted pilasters, as well as the attendant plinths, carved capitals and stenciled panels are glued and nailed to the stiles.

There are two vertical backboards on each side between the rear and side stiles. The ¾" thick rear boards rest in a rabbet in the 1" thick foremost boards and are mitered and nailed to the rear stile. The shelves are set in dados in the foremost board. The top shelf rests on top of and is nailed to the rear backboards, and the lower three shelves are nailed to the rear backboards from the outside. Each shelf has a single groove parallel to each backboard to hold plates in a vertical position. Two long slots have been cut in the bottom shelf parallel to the front and 1" from the edge.

The door rails are through tenoned to the stiles and the outer (curved) stiles are through-tenoned with an exceptionally long tenon to the inner stiles. The carved (with leaves and rosettes) mullions on the doors, with the exception of a lower interior section, are integral with the curved stile. The lower interior carved section is mortised between the larger carved section and the interior stile. The remaining lower horizontal mullions are through tenoned to the stiles and the vertical mullions tenoned to the bottom rails.

Bottom case: The top rests on and is nailed into rabbets in the 1" thick foremost of three vertical backboards on each side and is nailed to the top edge of the remaining (5/8") backboards. The foremost backboards are rabbeted to receive the adjoining backboards that, in turn, half-lap a third backboard on each side. The third backboards are miter cut and nailed to the rear stile.

The front stiles are through tenoned into the top rail, nailed to the fixed shelf and bottom board, and are integral with the front legs to which shaped foot facings are nailed. The front stiles are miter cut and butt joined and glued to the miter cut side stiles which are in turn joined to the top board, fixed shelf and bottom board with sliding half-dovetails. The side stiles join with the foremost backboards to form side feet. The rear center stile is integral with the rear leg. Blocks running from the bottom board to the floor are screwed to backs of the rear and front stiles to strengthen the feet. A top molding is nailed to the top rail and stiles, and overlaps the top board to receive the upper cabinet. The bottom molding is nailed to the stiles and bottom rail. Echoing the upper cabinet, a stenciled panel over fluted pilaster is nailed to the front stiles.
The drawer blade is tenoned into the front stiles. The drawer divider is through tenoned into the top rail and drawer blade. Behind the drawer divider a single board functions as interior drawer runner for both drawers. It is half- lapped to the drawer blade and nailed from the outside to the rear center stile. The inside drawer guide is nailed to the top of the drawer runner. The outside drawer runners, with integral drawer guides are also half-lap joined to the drawer blade. At the back they are mitered and nailed to the backboard from the inside.
The fixed shelf and bottom board are nailed into dados in the foremost backboard, and nailed from the outside to the other backboards. The front stiles are integral with the front feet, which are located immediately next to the side feet.

Rails of the flat panel cabinet doors are through tenoned into the stiles. Rabbets are cut the full length of the interior edge of the rails and stiles with opposing rabbets on the edge of each panel to form a lap joint the full circumference of the panel as well as at the joining of the rails and stiles. Recessed panels are held in place in front by an inset quarter-round molding glued into the rabbets of the rails and stiles.

Drawers are of dove-tail construction with mitered rear corners to fit angles of the corner cupboard. Rabbets are cut on the front and sides of the bottom board to fit into dados in the front and sides. The back edge of the bottom overlaps the backboard and is nailed to it. Two modern drawer stops are nailed to the bottom of each drawer to hit the drawer blade at the start of the angle cut.
Label:The decorative motifs on this corner cupboard are unique to Frederick County, Maryland. The furniture produce in western Maryland often reflected the convergence of the various settlers’ ethnic backgrounds, which included German, English, and Irish. The carved floral ornaments in the arched door of this cupboard along with the fluted pilasters flanking the door and the delicate bulbous feet connect this piece to an earlier group of cupboards made there during the last decade of the 18th century. However, the use of gilded stenciled motifs on this example suggests a 19th century date when stenciling became more popular. The maker of this cupboard may have known of the earlier examples or perhaps trained with the artisan who made them.
Provenance:Vendor purchased this cupboard around 2003 through Christie's (Christie's brokered the piece. It did not appear in an auction).