Thistles & Crowns

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Published on the occasion of the 2014 exhibition Thistles & Crowns: The Painted Chests of the Connecticut Shore and written by former Florence Griswold Museum Assistant Curator Benjamin Colman, this catalogue provides a permanent scholarly contribution and encourages further study of this tradition in Connecticut’s material culture.

Thistles & Crowns: The Painted Chests of the Connecticut Shore presents a new perspective on an important vernacular tradition in New England furniture making. Following his extensive study of the iconography and construction of the chests, and a careful review of the existing published record, archival sources, and regional history, Benjamin Colman argues persuasively that the stories of their creation, decoration, use, and histories are a good deal more complex than previously thought. Embellished with 74 full-color illustrations, the catalogue stands on its own as a significant contribution to the scholarship of American material culture.

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