Cabinet, ca. 1874–77
Design attributed to Frank Furness (American, 1839–1912); manufactured by Daniel Pabst (American, 1826–1910)
Walnut, maple, white pine, glass
Friends of the American Wing Fund, 1985 (1985.116)
This monumental cabinet represents a collaboration between the noted architect Frank Furness, who turned his talents to decorative work, and the highly skilled furniture maker Daniel Pabst. In its reliance on the Modern Gothic furniture of British architect-designers such as Bruce J. Talbert, the cabinet demonstrated the influence of the British reform movements on the development of one aspect of the Aesthetic movement in America. The perforated door panels, for example, replicate designs from Talbert's influential Gothic Forms Applied to Furniture,Metal Work, and Decoration for Domestic Purposes (Birmingham, 1867; Boston, 1873). In addition, the unusual reverse-painted ribbed glass panels—utilized by Furness in his buildings in 1876—bring to mind the stylized plant forms of British designer Christopher Dresser. The shingled rooflike pediment, angular base, chamfered edges, truncated columns and capitals of stylized foliage, elaborate strap hinges, and decorated door panels all make this cabinet one of the most successful American interpretations of the Modern Gothic style.