Dutch Material Culture

The Dutch settlers of the Upper Hudson River valley brought with them from the Netherlands traditional forms of architecture, furniture, household objects, paintings, and decorative items. Occasionally, actual Dutch objects were carried into the region with colonizing families or were imported and sold through merchants. Traditional painted Dutch tiles and decorated table ceramics were the most common. Most of the time, however, New York Dutch craftsmen borrowed from traditional Dutch styles and forms to create objects that featured a combination of Dutch design and New York innovation.
The large storage cupboard known as a kast is one of the best examples of a New York adaptation of a traditional Dutch cabinet form. In Dutch households the kast held table and bed linens and articles of clothing. Because of its impressive size and prominence in the main room of the house the kast also became a symbol of status.
This early eighteenth-century kast made of red gum, a favored wood among New York makers, was most likely constructed in Albany. It descended through the Glen-Sanders family of Scotia and may have been made for the marriage of Jacob Glen to Sara Wendell in 1717, or the marriage of their daughter Deborah Glen to John Sanders in 1739.
A painting by artist Pieter de Hooch shows a Dutch interior of the 1660s with an elaborate rosewood and ebony kast that is similar to the Albany kast owned by the Glen-Sanders family.
Magnifying Glass
Kast from Glen-Sanders Family
Probably Albany, New York
c. 1710–1740
Red gum, pine, paint, varnish
Magnifying Glass
Interior with Figures
Pieter de Hooch
Oil on canvas
Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum, Robert Lehman Collection, 1975.1.144