In partnership with the Maine Memory Network Maine Memory Network

John Martin: Expert Observer

Rustic furniture, Bangor, 1865

Contributed by Maine Historical Society and Maine State Museum
MMN Item 100941 Item Details
Rustic furniture, Bangor, 1865
MMN Item 100941 Zoom

Description

John Martin (1823-1904) of Bangor, a shopkeeper on Center Street, found business especially slow in the winter of 1865. He reported that he "employed my vacant hours in making a rustick armed chair, a Gothic oval chair a Sofa and Grape trellis."

Martin, an accountant, gardener, and architecture and dancing enthusiast, also spent his time in 1864 and 1865 writing and illustrating a journal in which he recalled his family, his business and pleasurable activities, and other events. On page 606 of the 650-page journal, he drew illustrations of his rustic furniture.

He had found "some curiosities in cedar crooks" in the woods, cut them and found someone hauling a load of wood to carry the cedar out of the woods for him.

He wrote, "These chairs are wholly built of cedar with the bark on and the crooks are more symetrical and handsome than I have drawn them from the reason that I drew them in the evening in my store among the bustle & noise of a few loafers and furthermore black ink or water paint does not represent their natural color."

He wrote that it took him 6 days to create the arm chair, 5 days for the oval chair, 8 days for the sofa and 5 days for the trellis.

View additional information about this item on the Maine Memory Network.