Mahogany and satinwood veneers on white pine and spruce
Bequest of Philip H. Chase, Class of 1907; F.980.64
This sideboard belonged to Mills Olcott (1774–1845), treasurer of Dartmouth College from 1816 to 1822 and a prominent Hanover lawyer and businessman. Julius Barnard, who briefly operated a cabinetmaking shop in Hanover in 1801, could well be the maker. According to the Olcott papers in Dartmouth’s Rauner Library, in 1801 the two men frequently exchanged goods and services. In 1802, Barnard moved his trade to Windsor, Vermont, where, in 1805, he advertised the production of “sash-cornered, commode & straitfront sideboards.” In 1809 he moved to Montreal, Canada. He terminated his business in 1812 and sold his stock, which according to the Montreal Herald, included “an elegant mahogany Sideboard . . . Sopha, with arms . . . a curled Maple Secretary, 35 new eight day Clocks, with and without cases . . . Mahogany 4 post Beadsteads with curtains . . . compleat assortment of Cabinet, Joiners and Carpenters tools. . . . Several hundred pieces of boards, among which are mahogany, curled Maple & Cherry.” Since documented furniture by Barnard dates to an earlier period, it is difficult to solidify the Barnard attribution on the basis of construction details or style. The innovative arrangement of inlays on this piece—such as the bellflower blossoms that turn up, rather than down—places it within the rural cabinetmaking tradition of the Connecticut River Valley. Its elegant outlines and sophisticated craftsmanship, however, demonstrate that its maker was also attuned to the high-style furniture fashions emanating from larger urban centers, especially Hartford, Connecticut. The link to Hartford styles, which is especially evident in the inlay designs on the legs of this piece (but not their arrangement), would be plausible in the case of Barnard. He originally apprenticed with Eliphalet Chapin in nearby East Windsor and worked in Northampton, Massachusetts, in the 1790s.
Last Updated: 5/6/09