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The Sewell C. Biggs

Exotic Woods, Masterful Makers: Tropical Hardwoods and the Luxury Furniture Trade, 1600‒1850



April 6-9, 2016

The forum will explore the history and use of tropical hardwoods in furniture, offering fresh insights into cabinetmakers’ incorporation of species such as mahogany, cedar, snakewood, satinwood, and rosewood. In addition to presentations on tropical hardwood furniture of New England, Philadelphia, Asia, and the West Indies, some of which was imported to North America, topics will delve into the harvesting, marketing, and workability of the hardwoods, the latter demonstrated on stage by the turning, sawing, and carving of furniture components. The program will conclude with an examination of current commercial tropical hardwood extraction and the global state of tropical forests.



*Image at top right from last year's forum: Chest, 1700–35. Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont 1958.1144. Photo by Gavin Ashworth



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