Furniture Master recalls NH traditions with 'New Look at Old Work' exhibition
CONCORD — “Mark Hopkins: A New Look at Old Work” features full-size pieces and miniatures that recall details of early Granite State furniture-making.
The exhibit is on view from Friday, June 14, through Tuesday, Sept. 10, at New Hampshire Furniture Masters' gallery, 49 S. Main St.
A reception is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Friday, June 28.
Hopkins, who is based in Canterbury, apprenticed at age 17 with Eaton Clapp Sr., a New Hampshire furniture maker renowned in the 1950s and 1960s for his quarter-scale Queen Anne miniatures and the stepson of furniture maker Harry Hammond, himself a renowned furniture maker who made fine New Hampshire-style lowboys, mirrors and high-style Sheraton work tables.
This exhibit of Hopkins' work includes full-size pieces as well as about a dozen miniatures up to 18 inches tall and featuring traditional joinery, handmade hardware and grained, painted or varnished finishes.
Hopkins' 40-year career also includes work in architectural restoration, consultation, and preservation of historic structures.
“I like my furniture to be friendly and approachable, to be used without fear of occasional bumps and bruises,” Hopkins said. “Some pieces are dressy like a farmer at a wedding, more contra dance than Viennese waltz.”
“In addition to the high style work of the 18th and 19th centuries, which may have been perceived as the pinnacle of the trade, there was also spirited vernacular New England furniture being made throughout the state that was both visually exciting and accessible,” said New Hampshire Furniture Master and Gallery Director Ted Blachly. “Often homemade, these pieces expressed the lively and creative independence that is ingrained in rural New Hampshire life.
“This exhibit of work by Mark celebrates a free-spirited, working man's ethic and a keen eye for design,” Blachly said. “The pieces have been lived with for years and have developed a friendly patina that further enhances his 'made by hand at the bench' ethos.”