Chest on Frame
Formerly attributed to Jesse Needham, this chest on frame is part of a large group of Piedmont North Carolina furniture attributed to the Quaker cabinetmaker Henry Macy (1773–1846). He was born in Nantucket, Massachusetts and migrated with his family to southern Guilford County in 1785, settling on Polecat Creek near Center Monthly Meeting. Macy appears to have trained under his cousin Hepzibeth Macy’s husband, Thomas Pierce, a Quaker cabinetmaker who was originally from Chester County, Pennsylvania. Pierce left Guilford County around 1790, as Henry Macy was becoming an adult and ready to open his own shop, but he appears to have greatly impacted the regional style with Chester County influence. An account book kept by Henry Macy beginning in 1798 survives in the Guilford County Historical Museum, listing large numbers of clients in southern Guilford and northern Randolph counties and multiple furniture forms, including several chests on frame, which in the account book was referred to a “Case of Drawers.”
The Macy-Pierce-Needham school of cabinetmakers will be the subject of a major article in the MESDA Journal by chief curator Robert Leath in 2017.