Furniture Construction in the Backcountry
Furniture collectors and scholars have long relied on stylistic evidence to determine the regional origin of early American furniture. Just as informative, but less often considered, is the internal construction of the pieces. Significant structural differences distinguish British-inspired coastal southern furniture from rural European-inspired backcountry furniture.
Until recently, thoughtful consideration of inland furniture-making traditions has been hindered by the British standards traditionally used to evaluate early American furniture--standards that offhandedly dismiss backcountry furniture as heavily proportioned and unrefined. Far more informative, however, is an exploration of how the construction of backcountry furniture reflects the region's complex cultural character as well as its simultaneous promotion of Old World craft ways and the latest urban fashions.