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Photo: Courtesy The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wis., accession no. 2000.7 Photography by Gavin Ashworth
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF1221

Maker

Maker Unknown
Maker: formerly attributed to Job Townsend, Sr., 1699 - 1765
Maker: formerly attributed to Christopher Townsend, 1701-1787

Dimensions

178.753 x 96.52 x 51.435 cm (70 3/8 x 38 x 20 1/4 in.)

Date

1730–1750

Current location

The Chipstone Foundation

Geography

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

Medium

Walnut, maple, walnut veneer, and lightwood inlay (primary); yellow pine(?) (drawer linings, quaker latches, top, bottom, and backboards of upper case, backboard of lower case, drawer supports and guides of lower case, backing of skirt, and backings of front rails of lower case); maple (case sides, drawer dividers and drawer supports of upper case, backs of all drawer fronts, top rail of lower case, horizontal drawer divider of lower case, vertical drawer dividers of lower case)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Illegible inscription, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-left upper drawer; “1” and “2,” in chalk, on interior backs of top and middle long drawers of upper case [from top to bottom]; “2,” in graphite, on proper-right side of the proper-right vertical drawer divider; “2,” in graphite, on underside of upper horizontal drawer divider [corresponding to 2 on vertical divider]; “1,” in graphite, on proper-right side of proper-left vertical drawer dividers; “1,” in graphite, on underside of upper horizontal drawer divider [corresponding to 1 on vertical divider]; “1,” in graphite, on top of drawer divider for middle long drawer of upper case; circles, in graphite, on interior bottom of upper case; “Stoc[?] [later],” in graphite, on exterior back of upper case; probably “A,” in chalk, on exterior back of upper drawer of lower case; “B” through “D,” in chalk, on interior backs of small drawers of lower case [proper-left to proper-right]; line with scrolled end and other illegible text, in graphite, on proper-left side of middle lower drawer; mathematical figures, in chalk, on proper-left interior side of lower case; possible word [with “B” and ending in “Y”], scratched on proper-left side of proper-left lower drawer; possibly “HPJ,” scratched in proper-right side of lower middle drawer; illegible inscription, in graphite, on proper-right side of lower middle drawer; “II” and “III,” in chalk, behind proper-right supports and guides for middle lower drawer; “I,” “4,” and “5,” in chalk, behind proper-left supports and guides for middle lower drawer

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wisconsin, 2000

Construction

The two-board upper-case top meets its two-board case sides in half-blind dovetail joints, having large, thick-necked pins of varying configuration, with half-pins in front and half-pins with grooves in back. The single-piece crown molding, fixed to the upper case with wood-filled fasteners, is deeply chamfered at the top of its back face. The upper-case back consists of three horizontal butted boards (the lower one replaced) nailed with brads into rabbets in the case sides. The single-board case bottom is half-blind dovetailed to the sides, with pins of varying configurations. Some of the tails are reinforced with later nails. Within the upper case are supports for the three small upper drawers – two are fixed with rosehead nails to the case sides, two are transverse boards tenoned into both the upper drawer divider and into a longitudinal support set into a groove in the backboard. There are two drawer guides atop the central transverse supports, nailed to them with brads. The vertical elements between the small-drawer fronts are dovetailed to the top rail and to the front of the upper drawer divider below. Drawer supports (replaced) for the lower long drawers are nailed with brads to the case sides. The top rail is butted to the case sides and face-nailed to the tip boards behind it. Drawer dividers below are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The three small and three long upper-case drawer-fronts are lipped, thumb-molded, kerf-marked, elaborately veneered and meet their slightly shorter, arched-top drawer sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut, thick-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. Some of the tails are reinforced with (later) nails. On the underside of the small, upper drawers are touch latches in various stages of preservation (the center latch is gone), held on with rosehead nails. The small-drawer bottoms are single, full-width boards, perpendicular to the front, where they are chamfered to fit into grooves, and flat at the sides, where they are nailed to the bottom of the drawer sides with brads through full-depth runners. The longer drawers have two-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the front, and nailed with brads to the bottoms of the drawer backs, whose tops are slightly rounded. The two-board lower-case backboard is half-blind dovetailed to the two-board, scallop-skirted case sides, with pins of widely varying configuration. The upper drawer?s tip boards are set into grooves in the backboard and in the top rail, where they are also nailed with brads. The top rail is rabbeted to receive the veneered front stile of the lower case, and is dovetailed to the top of the case side; the tail is reinforced with nails. Supports for the long upper drawer are half-lapped to the drawer divider; drawer guides are nailed to the top of the supports. The divider is rabbeted to fit around the front-case stiles, to whose underside are fixed blocks atop the "detachable" legs, also held into the case with later vertical chamfered blocks, glued and nailed. Supports for the smaller drawers are half-lapped and nailed to scalloped, veneered skirt board. Drawer guides are nailed to the top of these supports. The supports and the guides are set into grooves in the backboard. The rear legs are cut out to support the proper left and proper right small drawer supports. Vertical elements between the small drawers are rabbeted to receive the drawers? guides and the central portion of the skirt board. The cabriole legs have glued-on knee brackets, angular knees, calves, and heels, and shod pad feet. The rear legs? knees project beyond the face of the backboard. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, May 23, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Luke Beckerdite, "The Early Furniture of Christopher and Job Townsend," American Furniture (2000): 24, fig. 40.