The first rule for valuing House-Carpenters work in the Carpenters’ Company of the City and County of Philadelphia’s 1786 Rule Book states “Drawing Designs, making out Bills of Scantling, collecting Materials, and sticking up Stuff, are to be charged by the Carpenter in proportion to the trouble”. In other words, the charge for this work must be determined by an hourly or daily rate rather than a uniform scale of pricing for work established by the Carpenters’ Company.

Chris has worked professionally in the historic furniture field for over 40 years. His expertise is in the history of woodworking techniques, processes, and materials is coupled with the ability to share that expertise in a meaningful way with the general public. Most recently he worked for the Dietrich American Foundation at the Philadelphia Museum of Art performing an examination, assessment, and treatment of over 150 wood objects in the Foundation’s collection. Prior to that he worked in the conservation department of the Philadelphia Museum of Art since 2003 where he collaborated on the conservation of a broad range of American furniture in the Museum’s collection. In 2008 he recreated the long missing frieze carving from the fireplace over-mantle in the drawing room at Mount Pleasant, the historic house in East Fairmount Park that the Museum administers. In 2022 he was selected as a fellow in the Museum for Art in Wood’s Windgate Wood Arts Residency program. He continues to publish and lecture widely on historic furniture, woodcarving, and the history of woodworking, creates wood art and furniture on commission, and continues to write for this blog.


8 thoughts on “About

  1. I’m a painter in Brooklyn NY and visited and photographed Mt Pleasant in 2007. I began working on a series of large-scale watercolors of the interiors called “Chambers.” I am enchanted with the 18th century feeling of the place (or “came to grips” emotionally with history as you cite Paul Goldberger’s advice).

    The images and historic narrative in your posts are fantastic–such as noting the current interest in Nevell’s account book, and sharing that stereographic 1876 photograph, wow! How interesting that the director of the museum and his wife lived there in the 20’s. The aerial photo from the 20’s is great too. I look forward to more.

    (P.S. I came across your blog after seeing a write-up about it on Janet Blyberg’s blog.)

  2. This is a great blog, but can we have more posts please 🙂 I find that keeping posts short helps me to publish regularly without it becoming too much work.

    Conservation is such an excellent subject for a blog, as everyone loves to get a peek behind the scenes, behind the wainscot, behind the paint layer, etc.

  3. Chris-

    Thank you for both recent postings on furniture from John Head. By this time, you have probably worked on more Head furniture than some of his journeymen!

    I am aware of one other cherry clock case from his shop. Consistent with your comment, it has brass-mounts on its hood columns to complement the brass surround to the oculus: the Peter Stretch clock, catalogue no. 52, in Don Fennimore and Frank Hohmann’s Stretch, America’s First Family of Clockmakers.

    I look forward to our continuing work with Alan Andersen on our John Head Project: Part II article, which will address furniture attributed to his shop. In the meantime, as you are aware, but others may not be, I am completing a book on the Head account book for the American Philosophical Society. It wishes to publish it this year to mark the tercentenary of Head’s arrival in Philadelphia.

    Therefore, should any of your devoted readers have Head-related information that they may wish to share for either publication, now’s the time!


    • Jay, thank you for joining and your comment.
      You are indeed correct, Cat. no. 52 in Fennimore and Hohmann shows another cherry case attributed to John Head housing a Peter Stretch movement! So two clock cases of cherry but no other furniture forms in that wood. The second cherry clock was discovered during the research for Fennimore and Hohmann’s book and according to family history the clock has remained in the family of the second owner John Lisle (1726-1807). This is what comes from not carrying that 8 pound catalogue from work to home for various research projects! It is now at my house where it will stay.
      We look forward the publication of your work on the Head account book as well as the digitized version of Head’s account by the APS.

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