Gilbert-Merrill and Kane Lecture at the 2021 Delaware Antiques Show

Nov 9, 2021

The 2021 Delaware Antiques Show was especially significant this year as the event is one of the first large shows to reopen in person. And the Decorative Arts Trust was proud to be part of the festivities!

As in previous years, the Trust sponsored two Young Scholars Lectures. On the afternoon of Saturday, November 6, Winterthur Lois F. McNeil Fellows Jena Gilbert-Merrill and Rachael Kane delivered presentations about their material culture research.

Jena’s lecture, “The possibilities of a box”: Louise Brigham’s Box Furniture, explored a 1906 collection of designs and instructions for making simple, modular furniture from recycled wooden packing crates. Winterthur Library holds Brigham’s personal copy—complete with notes, edits, and extra material for a new but never published edition. Jena’s presentation explored Brigham’s efforts to introduce her furniture making concept alongside other early-20th- century efforts to help immigrants, such as Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago.

Jena graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Studio Art and Educational Studies from Swarthmore College and completed a postgraduate program in Ceramics at the Maryland Institute College of Art. She also received a Decorative Arts Trust Research Grant earlier this year.

Rachael presented Threads of Change: Assessing a Potential Meiji-Era Silk-work Painting, analyzing a large, silk-work picture gifted by the Delaware Art Museum to Winterthur. The quality of thread, stitch shape, and paper types along with in situ Japanese newsprint found in the back of the frame together offered myriad avenues of study in an attempt to place the picture in time and place within the late-19th-century cultural and political exchange between Japan and Western nations.

Rachael majored in cultural anthropology at Hamilton College, with a minor in Japanese language and literature.

View the Delaware Antiques Show online catalogue for more details about the research highlighted in these presentations.

For more information about the Trust’s lecture sponsorship and grant programs, see our Emerging Scholars Program information.

About The Decorative Arts Trust Bulletin

Formerly known as the "blog,” the Bulletin features new research and scholarship, travelogues, book reviews, and museum and gallery exhibitions. The Bulletin complements The Magazine of the Decorative Arts Trust, our biannual members publication.


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