MFA cupboard project: the door panel for JA

evidence for door frame on MFA cupboard project

Jenny Alexander asked the other day about the door I have made for the MFA cupboard project. This photo is the best evidence we have for what the door MIGHT look like. So, the frame is straight-forward enough. S-scrolls carved throughout.

I first made a frame just like this one, but then I didn’t like the length of the scrolls. The MFA lower case has some half-circles between its scrolls that I decided looks better. So I made a new frame.

S-scroll MFA cupboard

As far as the panel goes; it is all conjecture of course. The one at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was re-done in the early 20th century with painted decoration on its panel. I decided against a painted panel, so that left either a carved one, or one done with applied moldings forming geometric patterns, like the middle drawer front:

drawer front, MFA

So I flipped a coin, and it came up carving. Then I had to work out a pattern based on the size of the panel, and the various designs used by this joiner/carver. I tried this S-scroll pattern, but decided it was too repetitous with the door frame.

first door panel design

So I settled on something seen on the Winterthur box and the chest at the Concord Museum, a lunette shape, that will have dots & background paint as well. Here’s a detail from the box:

carving detail
new door installed

There is a strip of pine that gets mounted on the panel, above the lower rail. It will have a angled striped pattern painted on it…this is seen on the Concord Museum chest:

pine stip added to panel

In the end, the panel is entirely conjecture. But plausible. There are lots of versions I could have done, none more right than another, really.

So, JA, that’s what the door panel is about. Happy 79th.


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