steven kp | The Rhode Island School of Design Museum Acquisition


The Manning Rare Woods Collection was donated to the Rhode Island School of Design in 1974, but contains pieces of lumber collected as early as the 1920’s. The collection of large, figured, or rare kiln-dried lumber was a private “mania” of a Providence cabinetmaker named “Keyser” – a man who by all accounts was extremely proud of this life-long collection and rarely sold any unless he deemed the project worthy. Keyser boasted to have over 115 varieties of wood and be “the only person anywhere in the United States who owned Madeira mahogany.”

Madeira is a variety that, as far as any information we can find has revealed, doesn’t really exist. “Madeira” – Portuguese meaning “timber” or more broadly “material”- is also the name of a Portuguese Island frequented by lumber and other material importers before crossing the Atlantic.

Keyser – yes an eccentric, but also someone who deeply loved spending time with his collection – would go to his warehouse on Sunday mornings and greet each variety of wood with “How are you today?”

-steven kp

Madeira/Timber, necklace, shown open, with fabricated box

Rare Woods Collection.