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Photo: Courtsey Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts 39.140
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Chest of drawers


Object number

RIF745

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

86.995 x 88.9 x 48.895 cm (34 1/4 x 35 x 19 1/4 in.)

Date

1760–1770

Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany [San Domingan mahogany] (primary); pine (drawer linings, foot brackets, drawer supports, drawer stops, and glue blocks); chestnut (back boards, bottom boards, drawer dividers, bottom drawer supports, drawer stops, and glue blocks); yellow poplar (glue blocks)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“B” [script], in graphite, on inside surface of drawer back of top drawer; “A” [script], in graphite, on inside surface of drawer back of second drawer from top; “C” [script], in graphite, on inside surface of drawer back of third drawer from top; “D” [script], in graphite, on inside surface of drawer back of top drawer; “I,” scratched, into the upper surface of the upper drawer divider; “II,” scratched, into the upper surface of the middle drawer divider; “III,” scratched, into the upper surface of the lower drawer divider; illegible mark, in graphite, on the upper surface of lower drawer divider

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Martha Codman Karolik (1858–1948) and Maxim Karolik (1893–1963), Boston, Massachusetts, and Newport, Rhode Island, before 1939; given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1939

Associated names

Maxim Karolik
Martha Codman Karolik

Construction

The oblong single-board top has molded front and side edges, under which is attached, with brads and wood pins, a beaded cove molding. The top, which does not overhang in the back, is secured to the case by screws through three battens on its underside?two screws in a longitudinal batten at the front and two each in transverse battens set at the outside of the case interior. Below the transverse battens are full depth boards, attached to the single-board case sides with rosehead nails, which prevent the upper drawer from tipping forward. The case back consists of two horizontal boards half-lapped together and fastened with rosehead and other nails into rabbets in the case sides and case bottoms. The two-board case bottom is attached to the case sides with dovetail joints and to the bottom rail with two rosehead nails. Within the case are full-depth drawer supports with chamfered ends, fastened to the case sides with rosehead nails. Small vertical drawer stops are glued into the interior corners. The top and bottom rails and drawer dividers, integral with the heavy cock-beading, are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The case contains four block-fronted drawers, the upper with one concave and two applied carved shells, the lower three block-fronted and graduated. Inside the upper drawer front are five screw holes, two proper left and three proper right, indicating the method of attachment of the convex shells. The drawer fronts are slightly chamfered and connected to their drawer sides by dovetail joints, having finely cut large, narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. There are prominent scribe lines on the inside of the drawer fronts. The fronts of the drawer side tops are arched, shy of the drawer front tops, and are leveled at the back, eventually aligning with the chamfered tops of the drawer backs. The three-board drawer bottoms are perpendicular to the fronts, secured by full-depth runners, and attached with rosehead nails in rabbets to the drawer fronts and directly to the drawer backs. The front faces of the front feet are convex-blocked and volute-carved. Behind each of the bracket feet are rectangular vertical blocks attached to the case bottom and flanked by horizontal carved blocks. The sides of the rear feet are ogee brackets and their backs simple trapezoidal brackets, set into grooves in the side. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, November 14, 2012; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

Edwin J Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 64-65, no. 36, Accession no. 39.140, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 259, fig. 1.57, 6.5.