There is no better source for historical inspiration than Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts. Its many galleries feature furniture and decorative arts from Colonial times through the early 20th century integrating the two related disciplines into discrete collections by period and regional styles. The Colonial Boston gallery displays distinctive types of Boston furniture from blockfront, bombé, and japanned forms.
The Keane Family Gallery showcases 18th century from Newport, Rhode Island focusing exclusively on local cabinetmakers, in particular the Townsends and the Goddards. Examples of Newport’s block-and-shell furniture, considered by many to be the most beautiful of this genre, are on display here. The Amelia Peabody Gallery explores the differences between blockfront, serpentine, and bombé forms in New England and includes interactive touch screens with videos created in collaboration with Tommy’s alma mater, the North Bennet Street School in Boston.
The Seymour and Revere: Neoclassicism in Boston gallery features an unparalleled collection of Federal period works by silversmith Paul Revere and Boston father and son master cabinetmakers, John and Thomas Seymour. Galleries, devoted to works from the 19th and early 20th century, reflect the influences of the growing nation and its expanding role in the international scene while two period rooms from the 1840 Roswell Gleason House in Dorchester, Massachusetts reveal furnishings and lifestyle of a prosperous businessman in the mid-19th century. Other galleries touch on 19th century folk art, the American Renaissance, and the Arts and Crafts movement among others.