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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF1217

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

177.8 x 97.79 x 52.07 cm (70 x 38 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

Date

1745–1755

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Walnut, mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer supports); yellow poplar (drawer sides and backs); Eastern white pine (drawer bottoms and all other secondary wood)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"X," incised, on most drawer back exteriors; "XI" and "XII," incised on small drawer exterior backs in upper case; "1," in chalk on proper right side of uppermost drawer divider in upper case; "2" and "D," in chalk, on drawer divider below top long drawer in upper case; [?] and "4," in chalk, on drawer divider below; illegible chalk on side of proper left deep drawer in lower case; a loop, in chalk, on underside of upper case; "WD," conjoined in paint?, on upper case backboard; "This High-boy was bought of / Dr. C. H. Talmage. Upper part / belonged to Mrs. Ruth French / Drop ornament on low-boy restored.," in ink, on paper label glued to inside of a drawer side

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

C. H. Talmage. Mrs. Ruth French. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1968; sold to a private collection, New York, before 1978; consigned to Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, February 1–4, 1978, lot 1276; sold to John Walton, Inc., Griswold and Jewett City, Connecticut, as agent for Ann Holzer (1917–1999) and Philip Holzer (1919–2011), Great Neck, New York; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 20–21, 2012, lot 222

Associated names

Dr. C. H. Talmage
Mrs. Ruth French
Israel Sack, Inc.
Sotheby Parke Bernet
John Walton, Inc.
Ann Holzer
Philip Holzer
Sotheby's

Construction

The two-board upper case top is attached to the two-board case sides by means of multiple dovetails including a half-pin at each front corner and a half-pin and rabbet, which helps secure the case back, at each rear corner. At the midpoint of the front of the upper case top is revealed the top of the stile which separates the small drawers. The crown molding is attached to the case with brads. The top rail fits into a groove in the case sides. There are full-depth blocks behind the top rail glued to the underside of the case top, the inside of the case sides and case backs, which prevent the upper drawers from tipping. The upper drawer divider is coplanar with two drawer supports, one longitudinal set into a groove in the backboard, and one transverse, lapped into the rear support and the front divider. Between the rear support and the front divider are drawer supports attached to the sides with brads. There are two similarly attached drawer supports below. The three drawer dividers join the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The lower rail is set in case-side grooves and has transverse drawer supports behind. The single-board case bottom is attached to the case sides by large dovetails, with half-pins at the front and rear corners. The upper case back is comprised of three horizontal boards, attached to the rabbeted sides with rosehead nails. The upper case drawers are all thumb-molded, the upper, smaller two fitted with touch latch strips on their undersides attached with a rosehead and brads. The drawer sides have square tops. Some are flush with, some just shy of their drawer front tops. The rear corners of the drawer back tops are chamfered. The single-board upper case drawer bottoms are flat, with chamfered fronts, parallel to the drawer fronts, and fitted into rabbets in the drawer fronts. The drawer backs are joined to them with rosehead nails. Drawer runners are attached to the bottom of the drawer bottoms with brads. The drawer fronts exhibit thick-necked dovetails with half-pins above and below. The bottom of the upper case has molding on three sides, flush with the bottom board and attached with brads and wood pins. The upper rail of the lower case is dovetailed to the single-board sides. The front stile veneers are lapped over the front rail veneers. The divider below the long drawer is coplanar with drawer supports lapped over it and drawer guides. The long divider fits into grooves in the case front corners; the joint is covered. The dividers between the small drawers below are set into grooves in the divider above and dovetailed into the skirt board below. Drawer guides are set into these dividers. Each small drawer has a drawer support at its midpoint, lap-jointed into the skirt and tenoned into the backboard. The single-board lower case backboard is joined to the case sides with dovetail joints with half-pins at the top and bottom. The drawers are configured in a manner similar to those in the upper case, though the tops of the drawer sides are all shy of the drawer front tops. The angular, detachable cabriole legs are joined to the case with vertical rectangular glue blocks. Their knee brackets are glued to both leg and skirt and they end in slipper feet with slightly rounded tops. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, January 14, 2012; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 2, p. 465, no. 1145, ill.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Fine Americana, sale cat. (February 1–4, 1978), lot 1276.
Philip Holzer, Philip and Ann Holzer Collection (n.p.: privately printed, 1990), 66–67, no. 23, fig. 23.1.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Porcelain, Prints, and Carpets, sale cat. (January 20–21, 2012), 160, lot 222.