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Lot 106: Shaker Butternut and Pine Herb Cupboard, North Family, New Lebanon, New York, c. 1860, the top with overhanging rounded edges above two

Est: $40,000 USD - $60,000 USDSold:
SkinnerJune 15, 2014Boston, MA, US

Item Overview


Shaker Butternut and Pine Herb Cupboard, North Family, New Lebanon, New York, c. 1860, the top with overhanging rounded edges above two hinged cupboard doors with recessed panels and beveled edges fitted with brass and porcelain hardware opening to three shelves, on a projecting base of four drawers with divided interiors, turned pulls and printed paper labels applied to the drawer-fronts indicating the onetime contents, the feet an extension of the case sides, old surface, (imperfections), ht. 66, case wd. 46, dp. 18 3/4 in.

Literature: Religion in Wood, p. 91; Masterpieces of Shaker Furniture, Edward Deming Andrews and Faith Andrews (Mineola, New York, Dover Publications, 1966), cover illustration and p. 91; Shaker: Furniture and Objects, p. 53, plate 6; The Book of Shaker Furniture, p. 63, plate 26; and Gather Up the Fragments, p. 148.

Edward Deming Andrews's reminiscence of finding this cupboard and its mate (now at Hancock Shaker Village), is highly evocative of what it must have been like to explore the buildings at Mount Lebanon: "The 'nurse shop' at the North family, New Lebanon, was located on the second floor of the second family dwelling. In one long narrow room, brightly lighted by south windows there were two identical cupboards to hold the medicinal herbs grown in the physic gardens and widely used in the Shaker infirmaries. Herb labels are pasted on the outside of the four deep drawers. The wood is butternut." In another document Andrews wrote: "Through the kindness of Sister Rosetta Stephens we obtained both pieces." Shaker furniture scholar and cabinetmaker Tim Rieman dates this piece to circa 1860 based on the use of butternut, which is rarely seen in earlier Mount Lebanon pieces. It has full plank sides, and the back of the case is constructed of horizontal boards that run all the way to the floor. The drawers are divided for the storage of medicinal herbs. The intact labels pasted to the front of the drawers read: Lemon Balm, Catfoot, Tanzy, Peppermint, Wormwood, Mother Wort, and Cohosh. In the catalog for the 1973 Renwick exhibition Shaker Faith Andrews remembered that the present lot "was filled with herbs when we bought it."

Condition Report

one of the interiors of a drawer is missing, the right side has been recolored to an extent to address some sun-fading.

The absence of a condition statement does not imply that the lot is in perfect condition or completely free from wear and tear, imperfections or the effects of aging. Condition requests can be obtained via email (lot inquiry button) or by telephone to the appropriate gallery location (Boston/617.350.5400 or Marlborough/508.970.3000). Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner Inc. shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.

Auction Details

The Andrews Shaker Collection

June 15, 2014, 12:00 PM EST

63 Park Plaza, Boston, MA, 02116, US