A new look at New World furniture

PLYMOUTH, Mass. — It's a handcrafted wooden chest with two rows of side-by-side drawers, a type found in 17th century New England.

But this beautiful piece of furniture, made from oak and pine, with decorative red and black applied moldings and wooden turned drawer pulls, is not an antique.

It's a new reproduction of a chest made in Plymouth colony in Massachusetts between 1660 and 1700. The artisan who made it, Peter Follansbee, works at Plimoth Plantation, a living history attraction that depicts the lives of the settlers.

"Peter's work is a real lost art, rediscovered," said Plimoth Plantation spokeswoman Jennifer Monac. "He makes about 20 pieces per year, including specialty boxes, chests, chairs, cupboards, etc. Boxes can start at $800 and go from there. Chests start at $5,000 and up."

Follansbee said the chest, one of several pieces of furniture on display just outside the entrance to the gift shop at Plimoth Plantation in the Craft Center, took a month to make. To get the designs, he said, "I study original pieces in various museums and private collections."

Details are at 508-746-1622, ext. 8214, or www.plimoth.org.

A number of other historic attractions and living history sites also offer reproduction antiques of interest to both history buffs and antiques lovers.

Virginia's Colonial Williamsburg offers about 40 colonial furniture reproductions in its Williamsburg Reserve Collection, including a four-poster bed with a headboard and ornately carved bedposts that stand nearly 5 feet tall. Called the Carter's Grove Bed, it is based on a piece from an 18th century plantation ($6,241). Also from Williamsburg: a late Baroque-style walnut armchair based on a 1740s design from Pennsylvania (armchair, $1,481, side chair, $1,178). Details are at www.williamsburgmarketplace.com.

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