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Photo: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005.52
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Chest-on-chest


Object number

RIF630

Maker

Maker Thomas Townsend, 1742–1827
Maker Nicholas Easton, 1733 - 1811

Dimensions

86 3/4 x 44 x 21 3/8 in. (220.345 x 111.76 x 54.293 cm)

Date

1772

Current location

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (bottom board, backboards, and some drawer bottoms); yellow poplar (drawer sides and some drawer bottoms); white pine (pediment back and interior framing)

Marks

"Made by / Thomas Townsend / Newport / Rhode Island," in ink, on a paper label glued inside top drawer of lower case; "Nicholas Easton 1772," in ink, on top of lower case

Inscriptions

"1," "2," "3," and "4," in graphite, on interior corners of each drawer beginning at proper left front corner and proceeding clockwise. A large "T," in chalk, on interior of one drawer front. "2," in chalk, on top surface of second drawer divider from bottom in upper case."2" and "3," in chalk, on underside of drawer supports and corresponding case sides on lower case; illegible chalk, on underside of top and corresponding case side of lower case

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

David Gardiner (1738–1774), Gardiner's Island, New York; by descent to his son, John Lyon Gardiner (1770–1816), Gardiner's Island, 1774. Robert D. L. Gardiner, by 1976. Christie's, New York, January 20–21, 2005, lot 259; sold to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005

Associated names

David Gardiner
John Lyon Gardiner
Edmund W. Mudge, Jr.
Christie's

Construction

Counter-sunk nails fasten the cornice molding to the case sides and front. The upper case sides are one board; the lower case sides are two board. The tops and bottoms of the upper and lower cases are dovetailed to the case sides. The joint of the bottom board and the lower rail on the upper case is reinforced with three long blocks with chamfered edges. Three rosehead nails fasten a thin strip of wood to the underside of the bottom of the lower case that keys with the top of the lower case. The midmolding is attached to the bottom of the upper case; on both upper and lower cases the side moldings are fastened with counter-sunk nails at the rear; the front moldings are nailed from the undersides of the case bottoms. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides; the mahogany face of the dividers is backed by white pine. A half-blind dovetail fastens the muntin between the small drawers at the top of the case to the drawer divider below them. The two horizontal backboards on the upper case are half lapped together and are nailed with rosehead nails to rabbets in the case sides and the bottom of the upper case; the top edge of the upper case is rabbeted to accept the lower edge of the pediment backboard which is nailed to the top of the case. The three horizontal backboards on the lower case are half lapped together are fastened to rabbets in the case sides and to the back edge of the case bottom with rosehead nails. Vertical braces, nailed from the exterior, reinforce the backboards on the upper and lower cases; the brace pierces the bottom board on the lower case. The drawer runners are glued and nailed to vertical blocks at the rear corners of the case and fit into rabbets in the vertical blocking for the quarter columns at the front of the case; drawer guides are glued to the drawer supports and butt the vertical blocking at front and back. The small drawers are supported at the rear by a horizontal board that spans the back of the case and rests on the top of the rear vertical blocks; the side drawer supports are tenoned to this horizontal board; the drawer guides are glued to the drawer supports. At the center the support for the small drawers is tenoned into the rear horizontal board and to the drawer divider at the front; the drawer guide is glued to it. The vertical blocking for the quarter columns continues the full height of the upper case; above the openings for the small drawers narrow strips of wood are nailed to the vertical blocking at front and to blocking affixed to the case sides at the rear with rosehead nails; the strips prevent the small drawers from tipping when open. The vertical blocking for the quarter columns is dovetailed through the bottom board of the upper case. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer fronts to the drawer sides with a half key at the top and bottom; the kerf marks on the drawer fronts are long and coarse. The top edges of the drawer sides and slightly rounded and are virtually flush with the drawer fronts; the top edges of the drawer backs have a slight chamfer. The drawer bottoms fit into a groove in the drawer fronts and sides and are nailed to the underside of the drawer backs with six or eight small t-head nails. The grain of the one-piece drawer bottoms runs from side to side; running strips are glued to the joint of the drawers? sides and bottoms. Vertical blocks that rest against the bottom of the lower case reinforce the ogee bracket feet; horizontal blocks abut them. The rear brackets on the back feet have an ogee-shaped inner edge and fit in slots in the sides of the back feet. Examined by P. E. Kane January 18, 2005

See also


Bibliography

Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 264, 288, fig. 6.12, 7.15, 7.16.
Dean F. Failey, Long Island Is My Nation: The Decorative Arts and Craftsmen, 1640–1830 (Cold Spring, N.Y.: Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities, 1998), 162, no. 188, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, and Prints, sale cat. (January 20–21, 2005), 164-65, lot 259, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005), 42–43, fig. 29–30.
Morrison H. Heckscher, "Newport in New York," Antiques and Fine Art 6 (Summer 2005): 140-141, fig. 8, 9.
Jack O'Brien, "A New Bedford Masterpiece," Antiques 171, no. 5 (May 2007): 142, 144, footnote 17.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 58n25, 286, 287n5, 454, fig. 22.