Once an obscure figure in American furniture history, Nathaniel Gould is now recognized as Salem's premier 18th-century cabinetmaker. New scholarship, based on the recent discovery of his detailed account ledgers and daybooks, has led to the identification and re-attribution of many pieces of furniture, including monumental desks and bookcases, bombé chests and scalloped top tea tables carved from the finest imported mahogany. Gould's work is distinguished by its careful attention to graining, distinctive carved ball-and-claw feet, extended knee returns and superbly carved pinwheels and scallop seashells. In Plain Sight presents 20 exemplary works of Gould's furniture alongside paintings, archival materials, decorative arts and digital media elements that provide insight into the makers and consumers of 18th-century American design and culture.
This exhibition was organized by the Peabody Essex Museum with major support from: The Americana Foundation, The Henry Luce Foundation, The Lynch Foundation, Nancy and George Putnam, Richard C. von Hess Foundation.
Generous support provided by: Jonathan B. Loring, Robert and Elizabeth Owens, Skinner Inc.
Support provided by the East India Marine Associates of the Peabody Essex Museum. Additional support provided by many individual donors to the Four Centuries of Massachusetts Furniture.