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Cartouche Award Recipients

2001: John McAlister 

JMcAlister award


John worked wood as an amateur for over 35 years, most of it satisfying his passion for building 18th century American period furniture. He was a self-taught, consummate craftsperson whose introduction to furniture making was Marlow's Fine Furniture for the Amateur Cabinetmaker. John made all the pieces in the book.

In fact, no period piece has ever intimidated John, but that is to be expected from this former fighter pilot who flew P-51's during WW II. His home was filled with his work, including his masterpiece Goddard-Townsend nhsecretary. This piece was featured on the back cover of the April 1998 Fine Woodworking.

Like many period furniture makers who started before woodworking magazines appeared, John visited countless museums inspecting and measuring pieces of furniture that he later recreated in his basement workshop.

Furniture in the SAPFM Gallery

The John McAlister Educational Endowment Fund

2000: Harold Ionson (1920 - 2001)


Harold Ionson was the first recipient of the Cartouche Award for lifetime achievement in period furniture from the Society of American Period Furniture Makers. He apprenticed as a cabinetmaker in the Boston shops in the 1930's, was a union carpenter, served in World War II, and then became a patternmaker until his retirement.

After retiring, he became the consumate recreator of John and Thomas Seymour pieces. Harold decided to build the 'Derby' commode, probably the most lavish piece ever built by them.

The original commode was purchased by Elizabeth Derby West  in 1809.  Although credited to Thomas Seymour, the talents of James Cogswell, Thomas Wightman, and John Penniman were instrumental in its construction.

Because of the time spent on all of the jigs and fixtures needed for construction, Harold built nine Derby commodes over a period of twelve years. (He called them 'recreations' because they were not intended to be exact copies.)

His wife Martha used to make bandings with him in the shop.

One of the recreations, completed around 2001,  went on auction August 10, 2014. It sold for $20,910.

Harold Ionson: The Master Cabinetmaker's 'Derby' Demi-Lune Commodes. American Period Furniture January 2001, Volume 1Federal Masterpiece Re-Creation .  Antiques & Fine Arts.