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Photo:Courtesy Newport Historical Society, 69.3
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Chest-on-chest


Object number

RIF1077

Maker

Maker: attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732–1809

Dimensions

Overall: 210.82 x 104.14 x 55.88cm (83 x 41 x 22in.)

Date

1765–1795

Current location

Newport Historical Society

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary)

Inscriptions

"D," "E," and perhaps other letters in graphite on the exterior of the drawer backs.

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Peleg Clarke (1713–1797), Newport, Rhode Island, and Boston; by descent in the Audley Clarke family, Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to Helen Clarke Douglas; bequeathed to Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island, 1969

Associated names

Peleg Clarke
Audley Clarke family of Newport
Helen Clarke Douglas

Construction

On the front and sides of the closed serpentine bonnet is a single-piece crown molding centering three rectangular fluted molded plinths, each supporting a fluted and reeded vasiform finial with corkscrew flame. The plinths are fluted on their outside faces. On the edge of each three-quarter-round cutout in the scrollboard below is a single-piece molding pieced into the crown moldings above, just shy of their upper termini. The scrollboard meets the upper case stiles in half-blind dovetail joints. The thumb-molded, book-matched scrollboard plaques are applied. The bottom rail and the drawer dividers of the upper case meet the stiles in half-blind dovetail joints. The drawer fronts are thumb-molded and graduated. The case sides are single boards. The bases and capitals of the stop-fluted quarter columns are separate pieces. The mid-molding is attached with brads to the lower case. The elements of the lower case, including drawer-front and quarter-column details, are similar to those of the upper case. The top rail meets the flanking stiles in blind joints, the drawer dividers and bottom rail in half-blind dovetails. The lower-case sides are single boards. The drawer fronts of both cases meet their arch-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints, having small, finely cut pins, with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The fronts are somewhat proud of the drawer-front tops. The drawer bottoms are parallel to the drawer front, and runners are attached to their undersides. The base molding is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to the bottom board of the lower case. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 26, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

Bibliography

Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 168–169, fig. 3.92, 3.92a, 3.9.
Jeffrey P. Greene, American Furniture of the 18th Century: History, Technique, Structure (Newtown, Conn: The Taunton Press, 1996), 69, ill.
Jack O'Brien, "A New Bedford Masterpiece," Antiques 171, no. 5 (May 2007): 142 [no illustration], 145, footnote 17.