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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Tall chest of drawers


Object number

RIF563

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

128.27 x 100.33 x 50.165cm (50 1/2 x 39 1/2 x 19 3/4in.)

Date

1785-1805

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Made in Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); beech (bottom board); chestnut (drawer linings, top, and backboards); white pine (glue blocks)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Math calculations in chalk, lower interior backboard; compass practice incised on top; "X" and one "V" in graphite on the center of the exterior of some drawer backs; "/" and "//" are incised on the backs of the small drawers.

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Sotheby's, New York, May 19, 2005, lot 226

Associated names

Sotheby's

Construction

The top is joined to the case sides with blind dovetails. The cornice moldings are run in a two-part board that is nailed to the case sides and top rail. Half pin, half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides. The top rail is dovetailed to the case sides and the bottom rail is let into a groove in the case sides. The muntin between the two small drawers is dovetailed to the top rail and through the drawer divider below it. At the back of the case strip of wood is tenoned into the side supports for the two small drawers and the central support for those drawers is lapped to the strip at the back and to the drawer divider at the front. The drawer supports are fastened to the case side with cut nails and their back corners are chamfered. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer fronts to the case sides; the kerf marks on the drawer fronts are long and coarse. The grain of the one-piece drawer bottoms runs side to side. The drawer bottoms are let into grooves at the sides and front and are nailed to the underside of the drawer back with cut nails, most of which are missing. The top edges of the drawers are rounded and the top edges of the drawer backs are flat. The base molding is applied to the case sides and to the front edge of the bottom board with t-headed nails, three across the front. The vertical glue blocks rest against the one-piece bottom board and the horizontal glue blocks abut them. The brackets for the back of the rear feet are cut from one piece of wood that spans from side to side; it is cut out toward the center with angular cuts; three glue blocks secure this piece to the bottom board. The piece butts the sides of the rear feet; nails on the exterior of the side feet reinforce the joint. Pockets are chiseled on the interior of the drawer fronts to accommodate the threader posts and nuts for the hardware. All the full-width drawers lock. Examined by P. E. Kane, May 5, 2005.

Notes

This chest of drawers relates to RIF3862 and RIF4062 in its use of dovetails to join the front and side feet, although in this instance they are through dovetails.

Bibliography

Sotheby's, New York, Important American Folk Art, Furniture, and Silver, including the Gary Gold Dinner Service, sale cat. (May 19, 2005), 172, lot 226, ill.