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Furniture Forms for Storage
Both wardrobes and high chests were used to store clothing. These specialized furniture forms were developed in the eighteenth century to store clothes. Pictured here are two outstanding examples of the new furniture forms.


Wardrobe Franz Mayer Collection 18th Century Puebla
Philadelphia High Chest of Drawers Bayou Bend Collection 1750 - 1780
Franz Mayer Collection
Philadelphia High Chest of Drawers
Bayou Bend Collection

18th century

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In Mexico
Wardrobes replaced the earlier tradition of portable furniture. Wardrobes allowed people to keep their clothes well-organized and safe from damage.


In the British colonies
High chests of drawers were more popular in the colonies than in England. Elaborate Philadelphia high chests from the 18th century are among the greatest achievements of colonial American furniture makers.

This wardrobe is decorated with a complex, active pattern of inlaid woods. The geometric designs recall the influence of Islamic art. The molding at the top of the piece is curved as the skirt across the bottom of the piece. Curved legs end in ball and claw feet.

This high chest is decorated with elements inspired by architecture. Quarter columns flank the upper drawers. At the top are a cornice and a broken and scrolled pediment that recalls door frames of the period. Fretwork fills the space between the pediment and the top of the chest. Note the shell at the bottom, the curved legs, and the ball and claw feet.


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