CMC PCD 94-684-027

During the nineteenth century, carpenters, cabinetmakers, as well as homeowners themselves produced a variety of free-standing and built-in cupboards to store food, dishes, clothing and other household goods. The cupboards shown here are fine examples of the larger type of storage piece. They reflect something of the diverse cultural roots of Canadian craftsmen of the period.

Corner cupboard, 1863; made by Charles C. Joynt; butternut, painted finish; 207 x 191.5 x 79 cm. CMC D-1388

The maker of this painted corner cupboard has used architectural elements drawn from the early-nineteenth-century British tradition to emphasize the cupboard's straight lines and rectangular forms. Its ornamental details matched the interior trim of the log house in Leeds County, Ontario, where the cupboard was found. Intended for the storage and display of dishes, cutlery and similar household items, it was probably made by a house carpenter rather than a cabinetmaker. The maker wrote on the bottom of one of the drawers: "This cupboard has been made by Charles C. Joynt for Henry Polk and his wife, Letticia, April, 1863."

Kleiderschrank, ca. 1885; attributed to John P. Klempp; cherry with maple and walnut inlay; 229 x 175.5 x 52.6 cm. CMC 978.17.1

This Kleidererschank, or clothes cupboard, has been attributed to a German cabinetmaker who worked in the vicinity of Hanover, Ontario, from about 1875 to 1914. The bands of intricate inlaid patterns and the traditional Germanic motifs, such as hearts and compass-stars, as well as the lively scrolled apron are characteristic's of John Klempp's furniture.

German craftsmen made up a relatively large proportion of nineteenth-century Ontario cabinetmakers. Some were from Pennsylvania, but Klempp was among those who arrived directly from the continent. Similar large cupboards would have been found in many German-Canadian homes of the time in southwestern Ontario. Although machine-made furniture was widely available when this cupboard was made, strong religious and cultural traditions in many communities supported the continued use of earlier forms.