Nutting was a man of many talents


January 29, 1995|By Anne McCollam | Anne McCollam,Copley News Service

Q: I recently purchased a Wallace Nutting picture, and when I showed it to a friend, she told me that Nutting also produced furniture. This was news to me. Is my friend right?

A: Your friend wins this one. Not only was Nutting a talented photographer, he also produced reproductions of Colonial furniture of exceptional quality. But wait, there's more. He was a minister, an antiquarian, an author and a lecturer.

At the peak of his picture business, his studio employed nearly 100 colorists who hand-colored the photographs. The business was so successful that it was grossing as much as $1,000 a day shortly before World War I. Nutting also wrote 19 books and contributed to a variety of publications. His "States Beautiful" series and "The Furniture Treasury" are just a few of his finest books.

In 1917 he began reproducing Colonial furniture. He carefully based his reproductions on originals. His craftsmen were expected to adhere to the old, traditional methods of handcrafting. As a result, the reproductions were of the finest quality produced by 20th-century furniture makers. Most of his furniture was marked by paper labels, branded signatures or punched markings.

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