let the second-guessing begin

upper case, MFA cupboard, 2010


Well, it’s out of my hands now. Two years in the planning, research, construction and painting. It’s done, delivered today. Look for it when the new galleries open the end of this year.

It ought to catch someone’s eye, I imagine.  I was pleased with the overall result; but anytime I work on something at this level of detail, I tend to focus on what I would do differently, if I had the chance. I think that’s the nature of this sort of work. Here’s a couple of details.

upper front rail, detail


pilaster detail


This next one is a study shot at best; but it shows the painted panel, and the upper rail on the side of the conice. After I shot this, I mixed some more carbon black in hide glue, and painted the colored dentils black. That way they mimic what happens to the spaces between the applied dentils out front. As you can see, I finally just copped out, and painted the side rails to essentially match the front rail. Mostly.  We talked back & forth about what might or might not have been the pattern on this rail; and in the end decided that this was a decent compromise.

side panel


And now at the end, just for the completists, here is the base that this piece will sit over.  Won’t that be fun.

MFA cupboard base

15 thoughts on “let the second-guessing begin

  1. A true sign of a craftsmen is wanting to improve. Your work is amazing and it shows in this MFA piece. Congratulations Peter.

  2. I am not a fan of this era of furniture, but seeing your reproduction in what (I assume) is the original type of finish; well, it certainly is much more attractive and interesting. A job well done!
    I will look at these pieces with a different point of view now.
    Thank you,

  3. Peter,


    It’s truly amazing how vivid,(we think) these pieces were. For generations our eyes have become accustomed to 330+ years of mellowing…

    I’m looking forward to seeing it on display, come Fall. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a recorded message from you, next to the piece, explaining the process of construction and color theory.

    Thanks for taking us through the process!


  4. Petyer really is the best historian and practitioner of this stuff in the USA. I often hear collectors of period stuff rejecting “repros,” but I would fill a house with Peter’s furniture if I could. I have a Waldo chair he made about 13 years ago, and I look at it every day.

  5. Uncle Peter, this looks great! Definitely think you made the right call with the dentils…(?) I can’t wait to go see it at the MFA and brag to everyone.

  6. Tremendous work Peter! It looks great. I like the design you decided on for the upper side rails. Did you apply the red wash coat after all the elements were put on? I am wondering if it changed the character of the painted decoration.
    I recently tried lampblack pigment in a weak hide glue solution on a slatback chair. It like how it looked. My dogs must have liked it too. When I got home from work much of the paint on the lower rungs was gone. I guess the dogs licked it off! Luckily they didn’t chew the rungs.

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