Winner of the 2019 Historic New England Book Prize
A meticulous, lavishly illustrated, contribution to the history of American furniture: the late 18th and early 19th century work of Boston craftsman, Isaac Vose.
Isaac Vose (1767-1823) was well known in his day among style-conscious Bostonians, his name synonymous with furniture of the highest quality and advanced design. His shop, the “first on Boston Neck,” was in a prominent location and served as a familiar landmark in his South End neighborhood. Throughout the 1820s, 1830s, and as late as 1843, some nineteen years after Vose’s death, auction advertisements explicitly cited his name as the maker of select furniture, with the association connoting quality and calculated to increase its sale price.
Included in this book is a 70-page guide to evaluating furniture by Vose, his partners, employees and contemporaries based on construction and connoisseurship. Additionally, the authors bring to life the tradespeople and their customers in Boston in that era, creating a cultural history as well.
This book gathers in one volume all the known works of Vose as well as those attributed to him, and it is gorgeously illustrated throughout. Isaac Vose’s work should gain recognition for its outstanding contributions to an American vision of classical style.
[This] brilliant new book… is meticulous and nearly exhaustive, its prose confident, graceful and laced with humor. Mussey and Pearce skillfully bring to life the we of professional and personal relationships among tradespeople and their customers in Boston, creating cultural history with transcendent appeal.
—Antiques and the Arts Weekly
Monumental. Monumental – like the furniture itself – is the first word that comes to mind to describe both the scope and the achievement of the project documenting the life and art of cabinetmaker Isaac Vose… Lavishly illustrated and with a design that itself is ‘rather elegant than showy’, this volume deserves much applause – and a spot in the library of collectors, scholars and curators.
—The Magazine Antiques