Thursday, April 28, 2011

Featured Artifact: Open Front Cupboard


The cupboard’s upper section has an open front with molding around all edges and is arched at the top. There are three shelves within the upper section. Each of the three shelves are cut concavely, with two lower shelves containing a round projectile in the center of the shelf.

The lower section possesses a single paneled door, with mounted hinges. The door also has a keyhole and turn-button fastener. There is a concealed drawer between the upper and lower sections.

MORR 4815

About open front cupboards:

According to, the definition of a cupboard is “a board; or table, on which cups (and other pieces of crockery or plate) were placed for display” (Blackburn, 1). The extensive use of a cupboard began roughly around the 14th century, when there was a surplus of food that was provided to the poor, and a storage unit was needed.

Eventually, from this humble beginning, cupboards evolved over time into armoires, hutches, and side boards utilized for various types of storage within the overall open front cupboard design.

The open front cupboard, belonging in the livery cupboard category, was mainly found in bedrooms so that “a supply of food and drink was readily available when a very long interval separated the last meal of the evening from the first in the morning”(Chisholm, 634). The cupboard was often small enough to stand upon its own as a minor piece of furniture or as a larger sideboard or cabinet requiring significant space in a room. Most designs featured a variation of the open front with balusters, just like the one featured in the object of the month.


Blackburn, Graham. “A Short History of Cupboards.” Fine Taunton Home and Garden Network, 2011. Web. 26 Apr 2011.

“The Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, Literature, and General Information."Google e-book. Ed. Hugh Chisholm. University Press, 2006. Web. 26 Apr 2011.

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