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Kitchen Cupboard

Place Made:
Piedmont North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
yellow pine, paint
HOA: 85″; WOA: 55 1/2″; DOA: 18″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Dish dresser: Top board forms part of the dentil molded cornice; selved cupboard area divided into five spaces by two full and two half shelves, deeper shelves equipped with spoon racks behind applied molded edges, two molded guards for top shelf, one for bottom, two spaces equipped with plate board; bracket feet are part of sides and front; two doors and two lipped dovetailed drawers, one shelf behind doors, doors decorated with applied heavy molding to create paneled effect; hung with double-tail “rat-tail” hinges; sides of shelf space scalloped; pen mortise exposes tenon on sides of case and top of shelf area; traces of original red paint.

TERM: Dish dresers are sometimes called “pewter cupboards” or “Welsh dressers.” The term most frequently found in inventories of German households is “kuche schrank,” or kitchen cupboard.

FORM: Open top cupboards such as this appear to have been used in both English- and German-speaking households. The form originated in the British Isles and continental Europe, and the idea of it was carried to Pennsylvania by European immigrants. Numerous Pennsylvania examples survive, but few have exact histories of ownership. The form subsequently found its way into Piedmont North Carolina. The large display area allowed for the exhibition of ceramics and other objects related to cooking and eating. Because of their display function, decorative dish dressers were most likely part of the furnishings of a dining area.

Credit Line:
Bequest of Miss Katherine Hanes