Accession #: 1944.0002
Corner Cupboard, 1750-1790, American: South, Virginia,
Walnut, Yellow Pine, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The elite spared no expense when it came to keeping up with the latest styles and best materials. As one historian describes the dress of a daughter of a typical Virginia planter in the 1770’s, she “could have worn at the same time a gown of silk from China, underclothing of linen from Holland, and footwear made in England – all shipped in a vast network of trade from their places of origin to a shop or warehouse in London, where they were selected by a merchant, [and] packed for a lengthy voyage across the ocean in a ship”. Much of what women wore could be purchased through import trade. Upper class men as well could afford to have their outfit custom-made in London to fit their exact measurements, specifications for expensive fabrics, and embellishments such as imported buttons. A cupboard like this one was a very useful piece of furniture used to store the many neatly folded and meticulously pressed articles of clothing owned by a wealthy family like the Randolphs.
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