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private collection

An iconic piece of American furniture is the Hadley chest. These objects were made in the Connecticut River valley in the colonial era. Hadley is a neighboring town to Northampton, where I live.

Typically Hadley chests had lifting tops and drawers. The decorative work was stylized chip carving. Often the designs were floral. The tale is that they were large enough to store valuables but small enough to transport in case of an enemy attack.

I had not been familiar with Hadley chests until I moved to western Massachusetts in 1978. The first ones I saw were at Old Deerfield Village Museums.

I thought it would be fun to make a modern version of one using marquetry as the decoration. I had a frame and panel arrangement as did the originals. My floral motif was tulips. The framing wood was mahogany and the background to the marquetry was imbuya. The darker wood for the top and drawer is figured sapele.

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