This is a birdcage. It is dated mid-19th century and we acquired it in 1916. Its medium is turned, cut, and stained mahogany, cherry, pine, cut brass, wire, enamel-painted metal. It is a part of the Product Design and Decorative Arts department.
This birdcage is a model of a church in Flushing, Queens, New York; by the time the Hewitts owned the birdcage, the church was covered in stone. The spacing between the wooden slats provides visibility and ventilation for the birds and differentiates between an actual architectural model and a practical birdcage.
When the Hewitt sisters travelled to Europe in pursuit of objects for the museum they were creating (see photo of Sarah, Eleanor, and Amy Hewitt in a Venetian gondola), they collected items that, today, might not seem immediately relevant to a design museum—like birdcages. The European-focused Hewitt sisters acquired birdcages in various media, such as ceramics and glass. Others represent specific architecture from various locations.
Its dimensions are
H x W x D: 79 × 38 × 75.5 cm (31 1/8 × 14 15/16 × 29 3/4 in.)
Cite this object as
Church Birdcage; Previously owned by Alexander Wilson Drake (American, 1843-1916); USA; turned, cut, and stained mahogany, cherry, pine, cut brass, wire, enamel-painted metal; H x W x D: 79 × 38 × 75.5 cm (31 1/8 × 14 15/16 × 29 3/4 in.); Gift of Eleanor and Sarah Hewitt; 1916-19-83-a,b
This object was previously on display as a part of the exhibition Hewitt Sisters Collect.