A carved chest, thought to have been created by writer, gardener, and pacifist Rose Standish Nichols, needs your help to return to its former glory. The Nichols House Museum in Boston has acquired the chest and has created a GoFundMe page to assist in the cost of conservation.
The mahogany piece was acquired through the extended Nichols-Shurcliff family. The chest, made of Mahogany and Cedar, measures 30 by 50 by 21.5 inches and is stylistically influenced by seventeenth century joiners William Searle and Thomas Dennis of Ipswich, Massachusetts. The impressive carved chest displays not only the work and effort from Nichols, but is an important highlight of the work of women within the Arts & Crafts movement – and according to Linda Marshall, Executive Director of the Nichols House Museum, the carved chest is a beneficial asset to the museum’s collection. “The Museum is thrilled to receive a donation of this beautiful blanket chest that according to Nichols family oral tradition, was carved by Rose Standish Nichols,” said Marshall. “It will enhance our overall interpretation, in particular, through providing a vivid example of Rose’s artistry and the historical influences surrounding her creative work.”
The overall cost to the project and conservation efforts has been listed as $1,400. The museum has raised $450 and an additional $950 is needed to cover the full cost of the conservation processes. Upon completion of the conservation process, the chest would become a highlight of the museum collection and according to the GoFundMe page, will “…open a door to new and exciting curatorial and interpretive possibilities.”
Currently, the chest is structurally in good condition – however the wear of age and small areas of water damage have prompted the need for a conservator. Julie Solz, Governor of the Nichols House Museum and Team Leader of Collection Services at Historic New England, report “… the surface overall is slightly uneven with areas of light damage, light staining from mold and water, and grime,” says Solz. “There would be a significant improvement to the carved wood surface by cleaning and treatment by a furniture conservator.” The estimated processes of conservation include surface cleaning and treatments to stabilize the wood, improving the overall appearance of the chest.
The Nichols House Museum is dedicated to the preservation of the 1804 Federal townhouse that was the home of the landscape gardener, suffragist, and writer Rose Standish Nichols. Nichols owned and cared for the house from 1935 until her death in 1960. In 1961, the house has been open as a museum that reflects the life and home of a family living in Beacon Hill in the mid-19th to mid-20th century. The Nichols House Museum hosts lectures, programs, and special events open to the community and welcomes educational groups for tours.
To donate to the chest conservation effort:
GoFundMe page – https://www.gofundme.com/help-conserve-a-remarkable-artifact
For more info on the Nichols House Museum:
Nicholas House Museum website – http://www.nicholshousemuseum.org/