Old Hadley

As I was adding the last few details to the first of the three panels, it dawned on me why the pattern seemed so familiar. I am building a “Hadley chest.”


A “Hadley chest” by definition is a style of chest made circa. 1700 in Massachusetts or Connecticut, having front rails and panels carved in low relief with elaborate tulip, sunflower, and leaf patterns.


The name given to this style of furniture was coined by Henry Wood Erving (1851-1941), a Connecticut antique collector. Erving purchased a chest in Hadley, Massachusetts as an antique in 1883. He wrote that “in talking with friends [about his collection of chests, he] always spoke of the first as my ‘Hadley Chest,’ a description others took up.” The term “Hadley chest” became the accepted name for this type of furniture.

Now, if the sun will just peek through the clouds, casting a modicum of light into the shop, I can start carving the tulip-panels!


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