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Subject: [History, Collectibles] Furniture

When the first Europeans arrived in Suriname in the 17th century they brought their own furniture with them. Unfortunately, no furniture has survived the centuries not even any pictures of early furniture found in Suriname are available. Soon after the Europeans had settled furniture was made in Suriname. Most of the furniture was made by Dutch and Creole cabinet makers. Fortunately, furniture dating back to the 18th century has survived. Cupboards, cabinets, beds, tables, chairs and sofas resemble some of the 'empire' or 'Biedemeir' style of furniture making. Something that made furniture in Suriname different was the ability to assemble and dis-assemble the furniture for easy moving. Thus the heavy cabinets, beds etc made of Surinamese timber were in such away constructed that with the removal of pins they can be taken apart. This was necessary to move the furniture from the cabinet maker's work shop in Paramaribo by 'korjaal' or canoe to the plantations up or down river. Surinamese timber is not only beautiful and durable, it is very heavy. In 1850, Dirk Boldwijn, born in Coronie, was sent to England to study furniture and cabinet making. His trip and study was paid for by a plantation owner Cameron. Thus by 1870 furniture made in Suriname was of an excellent quality and some pieces have survived the time and are still in use today. The most common types of timber used for cabinet and furniture making were cedar and mahogany. The seats and backs of early made chairs and sofas were of a weaving of 'pitriet'. Later on in the second half of the 19th century more stuffed cushions were introduced. Furniture made after WWII are no longer so elegant and with fewer elaborate carvings and curves. They are more simple and functional and heavy. Examples of Surinamese furniture from 1800 and later are exhibited in the Suriname Museum. Drawings of several pieces of furniture are shown in: Bouwkunst in Suriname, Ir. J.L. Volders, Kersten, 1973. No ISBN ---------

Met dank aan Albert Buys

Met dank aan Albert Buys

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