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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF812

Maker

Maker attributed John Townsend, American, 1732–1809

Dimensions

Height, without finial: 207.01 cm (81 1/ 2in.); Width: 105.41 cm (41 1/2 in.); Depth: 57.785 cm (22 3/4 in.)

Date

1760–1770

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (linings of upper drawers, bottom board of upper case, outside drawer support for proper-left lower drawer, central support for upper drawer of lower case, and top of pediment); maple (spring locks, drawer divider backing under upper drawer, and proper-right guide on exterior bottom of upper case); chestnut (back boards, vertical brace at back of upper case, backings of drawer dividers under top two long drawers, blocks at front of upper case, central support for upper drawers, drawer supports, backing of drawer divider under upper drawer of lower case, tip bars for upper drawers, guides for upper drawer of lower case, outside drawer support for proper-right lower drawer, backing of vertical dividers of lower case, supports for bottom drawers of lower case, front stiles of lower case, and proper-left guide on exterior bottom of upper case); pine (drawer guides of upper case and horizontal support for upper drawers)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“B [twice],” in graphite, on exterior back of proper-left upper drawer; loop, in graphite, on interior bottom of proper-left upper drawer; letter [A or C?], in graphite, on exterior back of proper-left upper drawer; “C” “through “E,” in graphite, on exterior backs of long drawers [from top to bottom]; “A,” in graphite, on exterior back of upper drawer of lower case; faint graphite [A?], on exterior back of proper-right lower drawer; “W,” in graphite, on exterior back of proper-right lower drawer; “B,” in graphite, on exterior back of proper-left lower drawer; “M,” in graphite, on exterior back of lower middle drawer; “W,” in graphite, on exterior back of lower middle drawer; “A,” in graphite, on drawer divider under upper drawers of upper case; illegible graphite [B?], on drawer divider under top long drawer of upper case; “C,” in graphite, on drawer divider under middle long drawer of upper case; “Thousand [upside down],” in graphite, on interior back of lower case; “M,” in graphite, on upper front rail of lower case; illegible inscription beginning with “C,” in graphite, on exterior back of upper case; “/,” “//,” and “///,” incised on underside of top at front rail and on corresponding glue blocks at case front; “NP,” incised on proper-left interior side of lower case; traces of a paper label on inside center of central bottom drawer; "1759[?]," crudely incised on outside of top backboard

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Willet-Seaman family. Charles R. Morson (died 1929) New York; sold to Mrs. J. Insley Blair (née Natalie Knowlton, 1884–1951), Tuxedo Park, New York, 1927; by descent in her family, until 2004

Associated names

Willet-Seaman family
Charles R. Morson
Natalie Knowlton Blair
Blair family

Bibliography

Luke Vincent Lockwood, Colonial Furniture in America, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926), vol. 1, pp. 350–351, 354, fig. 19.
Joseph Downs, "The Furniture of Goddard and Townsend," Antiques 52, no. 6 (December 1947): 431, fig. 10.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005), 94–95, no. 10, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, "Newport in New York," Antiques and Fine Art 6 (Summer 2005): 138, fig. 7.