In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould

Edited by Joyce King and Kemble Widmer
Essays by
Glenn Adamson, Daniel Finamore, Joyce King, Dean Lahikainen, Elisabeth Garrett Widmer, and Kemble Widmer

In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould is the stunning result of happy accident and dedicated research. In the field of early American furniture made in Massachusetts, Nathaniel Gould has loomed as something of a mystery—believed to have been prolific, handsomely skilled, and exceptionally enterprising, yet considered elusive because of a scarcity of known works, lack of documentation, and difficulties of attribution. This book establishes Gould unquestionably as Salem’s leading cabinetmaker before and during the period of the American Revolution. He made substantial and often expensive furniture, including case pieces of bombé form embellished with carving. In Plain Sight presents a choice array of forms confidently assigned to Gould’s shop, and makes accessible the ledgers themselves, meticulously analyzed and interpreted to facilitate present and ongoing scholarship regarding Nathaniel Gould, Salem, early New England furniture, and colonial America.

The publication accompanies the exhibition In Plain Sight: Discovering the Furniture of Nathaniel Gould on view at the Peabody Essex Museum from November 15, 2014, through March 29, 2015.

Joyce King, an eleventh generation inhabitant of Salem, Massachusetts, is an expert in genealogical research. Kemble Widmer has applied his training and career as an industrial engineer to his examination of early furniture in Boston and Essex County, Massachusetts, for over twenty-five years.

In Plain Sight was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2015 Museum Publication Design Competition from the American Alliance of Museums.

SKU # 11165
12”h x 10”w
Peabody Essex Museum and Giles, 2014
ISBN 9781907804335 (hardcover)
284 pages with 164 color illustrations


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