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Country Arts for Your Home


SPNEA's Cogswell's Grant in Essex, Massachusetts, is a veritable treasure house of painted furniture, folk paintings and carvings, textiles, ceramics, and whimsical artifacts of all descriptions. The property was the summer home of pioneer collectors Bertram K. and Nina Fletcher Little, and contains their celebrated collection of folk art, or what Mrs. Little preferred to call "country arts." A noted scholar, Mrs. Little carefully researched the things they acquired and published her findings in countless articles and books.

Now, through SPNEA's Historic New England licensing program, more than a dozen country pieces from Cogswell's Grant have been reproduced or adapted and may be purchased. SPNEA's staff have worked with The Seraph, a furnishings shop in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, to ensure that the pieces for sale are faithful in form and spirit to the originals. The Seraph has specialized in country merchandise for more than thirty years, favoring a style that often seems to parallel that of the Littles. Alex Pifer, The Seraph's owner, brings considerable knowledge and expertise to the process of making authentic reproductions of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century furniture and decorative objects. She carefully oversees the production process, both to ensure quality and to keep the reproductions affordable.

The Seraph is unusual in that the furnishings are arranged in room settings, giving the shop a welcoming, lived-in feeling. Mrs. Pifer sells the Cogswell's Grant Collection in several areas of her store and will even create vignettes of some of the rooms at the Littles' house, notably the guest bedroom shown above. An upholstered sofa, wing chair, rocker, corner cupboard, and flower-painted chest form the core of the initial introduction, supplemented by paintings, candle holders, pewter pieces, and mirrors. As the line grows, Ms. Pifer will add a blanket chest, tavern table, Windsor writing chair, textiles, window treatments, and bed hangings to the collection.

-Carol Bruce
Licensing & Merchandising Manager

For more information, please visit, email, or call (508) 347-2241. To find out more about the Historic New England collection of reproduction products, please call (617) 227-3957, ext. 237, or email

ABOVE LEFT  Guestroom at Cogswell's Grant.
ABOVE RIGHT  A reproduction of this painted chest is now available at The Seraph in Sturbridge, Massachusetts.

Country Arts for Your Home