Brock Jobe, Winterthur Museum
Desk and Bookcase, George Bright, Boston, 1770-1780. Mahogany. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Bequest of Miss Charlotte Hazen.
Easy chair, Thomas Affleck, Philadelphia, 1770. Mahogany. Philadelphia Museum of Art; Gift of H. Richard Dietrich, Jr.
Commode, attributed to Thomas Chippendale, London, 1765-1770. Mahogany. Harewood House Trust.
Commode, attributed to Thomas Chippendale, London, 1770-1772. Satinwood, rosewood, and other woods. Private collection; Formerly at Harewood House.
Joiners’ Shop, painted by George Forster, England, 1816. Oil on canvas. Private collection; Photo, Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
The year is 1770. You have just arrived in the metropolis of London or the colonial towns of Boston or Philadelphia and are in search of furniture for your new house. To help you in your quest, join Brock Jobe as he rambles along the streets of these three communities, peeks inside the leading shops of the day, views their layout, meets the masters, journeymen, and apprentices, and admires the products of their labor. Afterwards, he will leap ahead to 1800 and explore the changing environment for cabinetmakers at the advent of the new millennium. Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
In 2000 Brock Jobe was appointed professor of American decorative arts in the Winterthur Program in American Material Culture after a 28-year career as a museum curator and administrator at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Colonial Williamsburg, the Society for the Preservation of New England Antiquities (now Historic New England), and Winterthur. He has authored or edited seven books, written dozens of articles, and given hundreds of lectures. Brock retired from his professorship in June 2015 but retains an office at Winterthur and continues to study, write, and lecture about American furniture. He serves on the boards of Old Sturbridge Village and the Decorative Arts Trust and remains a dedicated volunteer at Winterthur.