Come discover the Speed’s newest Masterpiece, a Kentucky sideboard, in this exciting new installation. In the Middle Ages, wealthy diners might sit to eat at a furniture form referred to as a side-board, a type of table set along the side of a room. By the late seventeenth century, the side-board had transformed itself into a service piece, used to hold wine bottles, silver, dishes of food, and other items.
The sideboard as we recognize it today, offering a combination of storage and display, developed in the eighteenth century. Within its drawers and compartments, owners stored textiles, silverwares, liquor, candles, and similar domestic goods. Contents would find their way to the top of the sideboard as they were needed, both for use and for display.
Throughout their history, sideboards symbolized status. They were the perfect accompaniment to well-dressed and well-mannered diners. Such was the case in early nineteenth-century Kentucky: estate inventories and other documentary evidence show that sideboards were often among the most expensive pieces of furniture one could own. The magnificent sideboard, recently acquired by the Speed, certainly shows why the form was so costly. Its complex profile, richly figured veneers and precise inlays, unusual bone key-hole surrounds, and the exceptional quality of its craftsmanship place it among the most ambitious Kentucky sideboards to have survived from the early nineteenth century.
Included with Museum admission.
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