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Photo: Courtesy The Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, DC. Gift of Mrs. Mary Masland Adams, 97.52
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF680

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

223.52 x 100.965 x 52.705 cm (88 x 39 3/4 x 20 3/4 in.)

Date

ca. 1776

Current location

Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C.

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); mahogany (drawer supports, guides, and corner blocks); chestnut (drawer linings, backboards, top and bottom boards upper case, and glue blocks)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"X," incised, on outer surfaces of sides and backs of each drawer; " S," and "18 / 88," in chalk, on back in nineteenth-century handwriting

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Commissioned by Cromwell Child (1727–1801), Warren, Rhode Island as a wedding present in 1776 for his daughter Mrs. Peter Turner (ne้ Elizabeth Child, 1752–1819), East Greenwich and Newport, Rhode Island; to her son Dr. James Varnum Turner (1798–1863), Newport, Rhode Island; to his daughter Mrs. Francis Lawton (ne้ Isabella Greene Turner, born 1822), Brooklyn, New York; to her daughter Mrs. David Fales (ne้ Mary Engs Lawton, born 1850), Chicago, Illinois; to her daughter Mrs. William Wistar Comfort (ne้ Mary Lawton Fales, 1878–1965), Rosemont, Pennsylvania; to her daughter Mrs. William Meyer Masland (ne้ Anne Wistar Comfort, 1911–1975), Manhasset, New York; to her daughter Mrs. Matthew Adams (ne้ Mary Fales Masland), Washington, D.C.; given to the Daughters of the American Revolution Museum, Washington, D.C., 1997

Associated names

Cromwell Child
Mrs. Peter Turner
Dr. James Varnum Turner
Mrs. Francis Lawton
Mrs. David Fales
Mrs. William Wistar Comfort
Mrs. William Meyer Masland
Mary Fales Masland Adams

Construction

UPPER CASE. Each side comprises two boards that are vertically joined. The case sides are dovetailed to a chestnut top and bottom. A secondary framework fitted inside the carcass composed of the scroll board, four drawer blades, and bottom rial that are through dovetailed together. The inner framework is attached to the outer carcass with two 5/8 inch wide full height chestnut strips and is secured with six counter sunk screws. The base rail is strengthened with three chestnut glue blocks. The inner framework project 1 3/8 inches out from the case sides thus creating notched corners into which are placed quarter-round columns, capitals, and bases. The waist molding is applied to the base rail and the sides, and is secured with glue and square-head nails. the top drawer divider is through dovetailed into the top drawer blade and is notched at the toop around the scroll board. A central drawer support is lap joined to the drawer blade and is tenoned into a central chestnut read stile. Each drawer support and guide is shaped from a single block, notched at the front to fit around the inner frame and beveled at the rear. The scroll board is supported from behind with one horizontal and two vertical chestnut elements, glued into grooves, and secured to the top backboard with rosehead nails. The chestnut scroll top is secured to the chestnut backboard with rosehead nails. Each side plinth passes through notches of the scroll top and is glued to the carcass. The molded plinth tops are secured with glue. The central plinth is secured to the scroll board with glue and one screw. The molded front and sides are glued to the top and base. The molding between the central plinth and rosettes is glued to the edge fo the scroll board. Each rosette is secured to the scroll board with a single screw through the rear. The cornice is applied to the scroll board and sides with square-head nails. The back comprised of three chestnut panels joined together in grooves, set into rabbets, and secured with rosehead nails. LOWER CASE. Each side is comprised to two boards with are horizontally joined. The chestnut backboard and sides are through dovetailed together. The top rail, drawer blade, and skirt board are dovetailed to the sides. The front of the drawer blade, rail, and skirt board are faced with a 1 3/4 inch wide veneer strip. The drawer dividers are through dovetailed to drawer blade and skirt board. The bottom drawer supports and central guides of chestnut are tenoned throught the rear and notched at the front. Each side guide is secured to the sides with rosehead nails and glue. The top drawer supports and guides are shaped from a single chestnut block and front lapped over the drawer blade, beveled at the rear, and secured with rosehead nails. Vertical, chiseled out areas at each corner receive vertical extensions of the legs that were originally removable and are supported by chestnut ( and late pine) glue blocks. DRAWERS. The chestnut bottoms are beveled along the front and sides, slid into grooves, and are secured at the rear with rosehead nails. Source: Patrick Sheary, DAR Museum American Case Furniture, 1680–1840: Selections from the DAR Museum Collection (Washington, D.C.: DAR Museum, 1997).

Bibliography

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), 371–73, no. 80.