image of object
From: Gronning and Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition,"American Furniture(2013):28
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF1558

Maker

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

Dimensions

82.88 x 99.06 x 53.34 cm (72 x 39 x 21 in.)

Date

1740–1760

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); white pine (backboards, drawer dividers, drawers supports, top of upper case, and top of lower case); yellow poplar (drawer bottoms and sides)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"M," within scrollwork in graphite, on interior bottom of drawer "D" in upper case; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk, on interior backs of small drawers in upper case; "B," in graphite, on underside of small center drawer in upper case; "D," "E," "F," in chalk, on interior backs of long drawers in upper case; "A," in chalk on interior back of long drawer in lower case; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk on interior backs of small drawers in lower case; illegible chalk ending in "y" on side of one drawer

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

Elizabeth Starbuck Hussey (died 1770) and George Hussey (1694–1782), Nantucket, Massachusetts; by descent to their daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth (1731–1805) and Josiah Barker (1728–1803); by descent to the Potter family, Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1969

Associated names

George Hussey
Elizabeth Starbuck Hussey
Josiah Barker
Elizabeth Hussey Barker
Samuel Barker
Descendants of the Potter family
Israel Sack, Inc.

Construction

The upper case contains three small and three long lipped, thumb-molded and graduated drawers, the small, upper ones fitted with touch latches attached with rosehead nails. The upper case drawer fronts have dovetail joints with finely cut, thick-necked pins, a half-pin above, and a half-pin and rabbet below. The single-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the drawer fronts, are nailed to the drawer sides. Drawer runners are glued and nailed with brads to the drawer bottoms, which are also nailed with brads to the drawer backs. The arched-top drawer sides are shy of the drawer fronts. The tops of the drawer backs are chamfered at the rear. The lower case has a single-board, straight-skirted, square-edged back and serpentine-skirted single-board sides. It contains one long and three small (one shallow and two deep) drawers. The long drawer has drawer supports and guides. The lower, flanking drawers have drawer supports and guides tenoned into the backboard and half-lapped to the serpentine skirt, which centers a turned pendant. The upper part of the legs are secured by rectangular chamfered vertical glue blocks. The angular, square-sectioned cabriole legs have rounded ankles and end in slipper feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, October 16, 2011. Notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Notes

The large "M" within scrollwork found on the interior bottom of one of the drawers in the upper case is a mark found on the work of Christopher Townsend and his son John, see for example, the desk and bookcase, RIF 242, by Christopher Townsend, and the highchest, RIF5171, and card table, RIF765, by John Townsend.

Bibliography

American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 2, p. 556, no. 1300, ill.
Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 187, ill.
Erik Gronning and Amy Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition," American Furniture (2013): 28–29, fig. 63–64.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 41, 216, 217n1, fig. 4.