11 Aug


19th century utopian religious groups influenced the architecture, interiors, and furniture of American Shakers

it grew from their belief system and worldview

minimal ornament, simple forms, perfected proportions, and excellent craftsmanship

reflect the lifestyles of Shakers and Modernism aspects of the 20th century


Doctrines separation from the world, communal living, lives centered on worship and work, equality between sexes

They isolate themselves physically in villages to escape worldly and outside influences

buildings, interiors, and furniture are planned primarily for work, division of labor by task and gender, and celibacy

Important life and design principles- economy, efficiency, function

those principles are the guidelines for beauty

Shakers believe that fulfilling task wholeheartedly shows love of God and the group.


Shaker architecture eschews fashion and style in favor of neatness, efficiency, function, easy maintenance

unembellished forms, refined proportions, and discreet emphasis upon beauty in materials was found in most buildings

some buildings adopt stick, queen anne, and shingle styles

buildings tend to have two entrances male and female

Materials- materials varied due to the regions

Mount Lebanon meetinghouses of clapboards, Dwellings of wood, brick, limestone, granite

Kentucky and New Hampshire built with brick and lime stone

meetinghouses are painted white


Shaker interiors exhibit- uniformity, simplicity, function and easy maintenance with materials and furnishings

most rooms are white plaster walls, bright painted trim, built-in cupboards and drawers, wood strips with peg legs for hanging clothing, and cast iron stove

Floors- wood planks (painted or stained)


Shaker furniture  reflects belief system and supports their lifestyle just as architecture and interiors

relies on materials, form, silhouette, and function for beauty

practical and easy to clean furniture

little ornament because it was to worldly

Materials- eastern furniture is of pine, maple, birch, ash, cherry, hickory, and butternut



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