THE object of the present volume is to furnish the collector, and other persons interested in the subject of American colonial furniture, with a trustworthy handbook on the subject, having especially in mind the natural development of the various styles, and arranging them in such a way as to enable any one at a glance to determine under what general style and date a piece of furniture falls.
The sources of information from which this book has been derived are: examination of inventories and contemporary records, all available newspapers, works on the subjects of furniture, architecture, and interior wood-work by English, French, German, Italian, and American writers, general and commercial histories, books on manners and customs, ancient dictionaries, cabinet-makers' books of design, ancient and modern, and examination of specimens of furniture, both colonial and foreign.
The last of these sources is the most important, and New England is particularly rich in examples of the earliest as well as the later furniture, while the South is wofully lacking in any pieces prior to the mahogany period, although the inventories show that such pieces existed more abundantly there even than in the North.
New England possesses many fine collections, both public and private, and as these collections contain examples from both North and South, we have in many cases used them in illustrating instead of taking specimens still in the South.
In the last few years many pieces of the seventeenth-century furniture have come to light which fully carry out the idea of development vii vii
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