Thurston Chest

DHSM Acquires Chest!

You did it! Thank you! Donors made it possible for the Dedham Historical Society & Museum to acquire this 17th-century carved chest attributed to John Thurston (1607-1685) of Dedham/Medfield. With this purchase, DHSM is now able to display this chest along with a similar carved chest we share with the Fairbanks House made by Thurston’s apprentice/associate John Houghton (1624-1684). We also have two Great Chairs in the DHSM collection associated with both craftsmen. Having two chests and two chairs from this period by artisans who worked together is an extremely rare educational opportunity. DHSM will host a “Welcome Home” party in the spring to celebrate this momentous addition to the collection.

Thurston emigrated to Salem from County Suffolk, England, in 1637 and was in Dedham by 1642, later moving to Medfield (Medfield separated from Dedham in 1649 and incorporated in 1651). When he died, he was one of the most prominent citizens of Medfield. John Houghton came to Dedham at the age of 11 in 1635 and it is thought he apprenticed with Thurston until 1645. He worked in Dedham until 1665, relocating to Lancaster and then to Charlestown in 1675 where he died and is buried in the Granary Burial ground beside Christ Church in Boston. 

The Thurston chest was purchased at Sotheby’s in New York on January 19th, 2019, lot 846, as part of the Anne H. and Frederick Vogel collection: It was previously in the collection of the Delaware Art Museum.

Thank you to the Joan Pearson Watkins Revocable Trust for the seed funds for this purchase. Additionally, we thank the following donors: Anonymous, Bob & Becky Alexander, Daniel P. Brown, Lawrence C. Caldwell, Ann Chahbandour & Jay Robert Stiefel, Lucy and Mike Danziger, Raymond C. Egan, Robert & Bobbie Falk, Burt Fendelman, Judy and John Herdeg, Tom Jewett and Charles Berdan, Linda H. Kaufman, Marybeth Keene, Jim Mattozzi, Patricia and Samuel McCullough, Cheryl O’Malley, Elizabeth & Robert Owens, Nancy Kollish & Jeffrey Pressman, Dennis Radulski, David A. Schorsch and Eileen M. Smiles, Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Seth A. Thayer Jr., Robert F. Trent, Leslie & Peter Warwick, Jan Whitlock, and Linda Wiseman. We are thankful for additional pledges that have been made and additional names will be added to this donor list once gifts are received. We are most appreciative to all who have made this purchase possible, including Jonathan Leo Fairbanks for providing the impetus to move forward. Thank you to Ronald Bourgeault for moral support during the auction, and to Scott Cousins Art Handling.