Museum Publication: Catalogue, 'The Best the Country Affords'
The Best the Country Affords: Vermont Furniture 1765-1850 Kenneth Joel Zogry
A 176-page catalogue featuring over 200 photographs, 56 in color, including five essays and detailed information about 112 pieces of Vermont furniture. The catalogue is divided into five geographical regions to familiarize the reader with the basic social and architectural history of each section and to create the proper context for the truly remarkable furniture. The catalogue is written by Kenneth Joel Zogry and edited by Philip Zea, Curator of Historic Deerfield, Inc., with a foreward by Wendell Garrett, Senior Vice President of Sotheby’s and editor emeritus of The Magazine, ANTIQUES.
Along with formal styles, some Vermont furniture is also “country,” including brilliantly painted examples and pieces made with the vibrant local woods such as maple and birch. “The challenge,” says Zogry, “was to properly understand the early history of the state, and then search major museums, local historical societies, and private homes for unique examples of early Vermont furniture.” Over three-quarters of the objects in the catalogue publication have never before been seen by the public.
For years collectors and curators have studied the antique American furniture of cities such as Boston or Philadelphia, or the country furniture of Connecticut and New Hampshire, yet Vermont has been virtually ignored,” says Kenneth Joel Zogry, Bennington Museum’s former Curator of Collections. “Although today a small and rural state, Vermont was actually one of the fastest growing areas of the country between 1760 and 1820. In fact, by 1820 the population of Vermont was only 15 percent smaller than Connecticut. These new settlers included children of wealthy families from other parts of New England, who built fine homes and created a market for fine furniture, much of which today is misattributed to places like Boston or New York.”