Shaker Style (1800)

The Shakers, of which the style is named after, were a Christian community of settlers, that originated in Liverpool and emigrated to America during the 18th Century.

A portrait drawing of a group of Shaker settlers.
A group of Shakers, published in 1875

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ann_Lee#/media/File:A_group_of_Shakers.jpg

Round stone barn with a white top and a stone bottom. Various rectangular windows are spread throughout the building.
Round Stone Barn, Hancock Shaker Village, Massachusetts

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/ce3a4ab2-573e-41e7-bb3c-20cce3871694 by hlkljgk

Dining Table, United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (“Shakers”), Mount Lebanon, New York (American, active ca. 1750–present), Maple, ash, American, Shaker
Dining Table – Shakers – New York

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/3180?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Shaker+Furniture&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=8

Who Were the Shakers?

The shaker community began in Liverpool in the 1700s by Ann Lee, a woman who went on a mission to find a more spiritual religion than the Church of England. In 1744, the community said to America to avoid religious persecution for being non-conformists. Once there, they designed large buildings for groups of people, where Minimalism was the main feature of their architecture.

Image source: https://prabook.com/web/ann.lee/3739906#

Life of the Diligent Shaker drawing depicting the simple-life the shakers lived. Women appear to be doing chores - cooking dinner, doing laundry and cleaning.
Life of the Diligent Shaker – Shaker Historical Society

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shakers#/media/File:Life_of_the_Diligent_Shaker.jpg

 Shaker Style Architecture

The Shakers were famous for their architecture and handcrafts, and they worked to served God in everything they did. Their architecture emphasized simplicity, utility, and fine craftsmanship. Further, the Shakers’ work focused on simple lines and durable materials. Wood molding was used to shape windows and doors, but it did not change the overall feel of simplicity.

Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village: Two large barn buildings side by side.
Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village.

Image source: https://commons.wikimedia.org

Photo of Isaac Newton Hagan House: A large flat building with a green roof.
Isaac Newton Hagan House

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/f117fcde-54c3-45d9-97eb-90057d51d439 by Teemu008

Shaker Furniture

Shaker furniture and handcrafts focused on order, utility, and durability. They discarded any unnecessary ornament, and instead pursued a distinctive simple furniture and color.

Wash Stand, United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (“Shakers”), Mount Lebanon, New York (American, active ca. 1750–present), Pine, American, Shaker
Wash Stand – Shaker – New York

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/9734?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Shaker+Furniture&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=9

Furniture was often made of cherry or maple that was sometimes stained. Fortunately, collections of Shaker furniture are maintained today in the United States and the United Kingdom. Further, elements of Shaker design inspired many modern furniture pieces.

Farm Table of Reclaimed Wood with Shaker style legs
Farm Table of Reclaimed Wood with Shaker style legs

Image source: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/c2b4a995-740b-4608-9f74-b7265dd7a7db by DesignFolly.com

Candle Stand, United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (“Shakers”), Mount Lebanon, New York (American, active ca. 1750–present), Cherry, American, Shaker
Candle Stand – Shakers – New York

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/1175?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Shaker+Furniture&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=3

Bench, United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing (“Shakers”), Mount Lebanon, New York (American, active ca. 1750–present), Pine, American, Shaker
Bench – Shakers – New York

Image source: https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/458?searchField=All&sortBy=Relevance&ft=Shaker+Furniture&offset=0&rpp=20&pos=2

Important Artists

Tabitha Babbit (1784-1858): Not much is known about Tabitha Babbitt, but she lived in the Harvard Shaker community in Massachusetts. She became an American Shaker toolmaker and, probably, designed the circular saw.

Tabitha Babbitt and the circular saw

Image source: https://buscafriends.com/it/interests/post/12911 Author: Emanuele Gaber

Isaac Newton Youngs (1793 – 1865): He was a Shaker, designed furniture, transcribed hymnals by hand, improved his village’s waterworks, worked on the Church Family dwelling, turned more than a thousand clothespins on a lathe, and laid a new floor in the dairy.

Drawing of Sir Isaac Newton, where he is starring at the viewer via a side eye.
Sir Isaac Newton by J. MacArdell

Image sourse: https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/3af15ded-1dad-4f18-9305-20d0aca8ba7d by The Public Domain Review

Sir Isaac Newton light-stone statue. He holds a scroll in his right hand and stands in a sassy-pose.
Sir Isaac Newton

Image sourse:https://search.creativecommons.org/photos/7620839b-00da-4b26-bfc2-9641d4c856ce by jdlasica


Info sources:

https://www.britannica.com/technology/Shaker-furniture https://www.encyclopedia.com/education/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/shaker-architecture

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