Quaker Furniture Exhibit at Rokeby

August 18, 2016  
Filed under Arts & Entertainment

Quaker Stephen Foster Stevens of Monkton produced utilitarian furniture of expert workmanship from his shop for 14 years.

Quaker Stephen Foster Stevens of Monkton produced utilitarian furniture of expert workmanship from his shop for 14 years.

Quaker cabinetmaker Stephen Foster Stevens produced furniture from his Monkton, Vermont shop for 14 years. Several pieces made their way into the collection at Rokeby Museum and are now on exhibit, along with account books, diaries, documents, photographs and other personal items.

Born to Quaker parents and trained by another Friend, Stevens turned out ordinary and utilitarian furniture for his neighbors, many of whom were also Quakers. His work, however, showed great talent and expert workmanship, suggesting that he could have pursued a more lucrative career making fine furniture elsewhere.

Instead, Stevens’s life as a Friend influenced the pieces he produced. Quakers lived under the testimony of simplicity at this time and were expected to remain “plain” in their speech, clothing, furniture and deportment. 

“Quaker Made” presents an intimate look into the meaning of plainness for Friends.

Rokeby Museum is a National Historic Landmark designated for its exceptional underground railroad history. The museum and “Quaker Made” are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Oct. 30. The museum is located at 4334 Route 7 in Ferrisburgh.www.rokeby.org.

 

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