Collage of images of the collection


New York Furniture at the New York State Museum

The Furniture Collection covers the period 1680 to 1950, and includes many labeled examples by New York cabinetmakers. Among those New York City cabinetmakers represented are: Thomas Burling (working 1769-1802), Michael Allison (1773-1855), Richard Allison (1780-1825), Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854), Joseph Meeks and Sons (working 1829-1835), John and Joseph W. Meeks (working 1836-1860), Alexander Roux (1813-1886), George Platt (1812-1873), George Hunzinger (working 1866-1899) Leon Marcotte, and others. Upstate cabinetmakers represented in the collections are from localities across New York State encompassing every region. Furniture by Roycroft, Gustav Stickley, and L. and J. G. Stickley represents the Arts and Crafts Movement. The Shaker furniture collection which was donated to the Museum by the Shakers themselves, comes largely from the Watervliet, Mt. Lebanon, and Groveland Communities.

New York Furniture: The Federal Period 1788-1825

Leadership in the design and production of furniture moved from Philadelphia to New York during the Federal period (1788-1825). This was partly because New York with its flourishing port, assumed leadership in many areas of trade and commerce at that time. The Federal Furniture Collection at the Museum includes examples by all of the major New York cabinetmakers of the time, including Duncan Phyfe, Charles-Honore Lannuier and Michael and Richard Allison. The style was light and delicate with use of inlay. It reflected the mood of the new nation. Symbolizing a sense of pride, the eagle appeared in inlays and was carved into finials and supports. Cornucopia were often carved and stenciled on the furniture, signifying abundance and prosperity.

Rustic Furniture: The Clarence O. Nichols Collection

In the fall of 1972, the New York State Museum was fortunate to make the acquaintance of Mr. and Mrs. Howard Stewart. The Stewarts were looking for an appropriate home for the collection of rustic furniture made by Mrs. Stewart's father, Clarence O. Nichols, for his Briarcliff home in Westchester County. The Museum was pleased to accept this unique collection of 32 pieces made between 1926 and 1947. Nichols furniture is evocative of nature harnessed to human needs, and it works on both levels, of artistry and function.

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