SCHOOL: This cupboard belongs to a large group of furniture from the southern portion of Virginia’s Eastern Shore. The pieces are characterized by extensive fields of paneling, fine architectural detail and polychrome painted finishes and can be directly associated with regional architecture, particularly the complex paneling of doors and interiors.
STYLE: Like other examples in the Accomack group, this cupboard demonstrates the attention to architectural form that is typical of this group of furniture. The arched heads of the door lights, the pilasters, and the finely detailed moldings are details that would not be unusual on a paneled fireplace wall of a parlor. The practice of highlighting moldings and other architectural elements is common to Eastern Shore furniture.
CONSTRUCTION: These features indicate the work of skilled finish joiners working from as early as the 1730s to the end of the eighteenth century. The frames of the case pieces, such as chests and wardrobes, are not joined–that is, do not have facades and sides mortised-and-tenoned to the corner stiles–but instead are wainscot construction, with the ranges of paneling rabbeted at the corners and joined with nails. (RAES) The paneled plinths of the pilasters are cut from a solid piece of wood, a practice occasionally encountered on door panels of eastern shore pieces.
RELATED OBJECTS: Blanket chest from the same area (MESDA Acc. No. 3331)