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Photo: Courtesy Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design Mary B. Jackson Fund and Furniture Exchange Fund 77.020
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Dressing bureau


Object number

RIF1755

Maker

Maker attributed Joseph Rawson and Son, active 1808 - 1826

Dimensions

72 x 38 x 21 in. (182.88 x 96.52 x 53.34 cm)

Date

1814

Current location

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany and mahogany, rosewood, and lightwood veneers (primary); mahogany (drawer stops of lower case and blocks on underside of upper case); chestnut (back of mirror, back of upper case, and sides and backs of drawers of lower case); pine (backboards of lower case, drawer supports and guides of lower case, drawer divider backs, horizontal and vertical rails of lower case, backings of drawer fronts, bottom of upper case, and blocks on mirror crest [?]); yellow poplar (sides and backs of drawers of upper case)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“N 1,” in graphite, on backs of mirror, crest, and upper and lower case; “D Wolf[?],” in graphite, on back of mirror; “3 ¼ Hours,” in graphite, on back of lower case; “BEKINS / VAN & STORAGE CO. / HOLLYWOOD CALF. / LOT PIECE / 32490,” printed in blue on paper label glued to exterior case back; “N 1,” in chalk, on exterior of upper case back; “1” through “3,” in chalk and graphite, on interior bottoms of drawers of upper case; an arc and “1” through “3,” in graphite, on interior backs of drawers of upper case; “X,” in graphite, on interior fronts of drawers marked “1” and “3;” an arc, in graphite, on the interior front of drawer marked “2;” “1” through “3,” in graphite, on front rail of upper case under corresponding drawers; “X1,” in graphite, on interior back of upper drawer of lower case; “1,” in graphite, on interior bottom of upper drawer of lower case; “X2,” in graphite, on interior back of middle drawer of lower case; “V,” incised on interior back of middle drawer of lower case; “2,” in graphite, on interior bottom of middle drawer of lower case; an arc and “II,” in graphite, on interior front of middle drawer of lower case; an arc and “3,” in graphite, on interior back of bottom drawer of lower case; an arc and “III,” in graphite, on interior front of bottom drawer of lower case; “1,” in graphite, on proper-right interior side of lower case; “2[?],” in graphite, on proper-left interior side of lower case; “1” and “2,” in graphite, on the top of dividers under top and middle drawers of lower case; “3,” in chalk, on top of drawer divider under bottom drawer of lower case; “Thayer,” compass work designs, doodle, and “N1,” in graphite, on exterior top of lower case; an arc, in graphite, on underside of upper case

Style

Sheraton

Provenance

Mrs. Raymond Henry Jones Perry (née Mary Ann DeWolf), Bristol, Rhode Island; by descent in the Perry family to Patricia Payson Hunt, Lowell, Massachusetts; sold to Shreve, Crump and Low, Boston, ca. 1975; sold to the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1977

Associated names

Mary Ann DeWolf
Patricia Payson Hunt
Shreve, Crump and Low Company

Construction

The primary, or lower, case-top consists of a front board with outset rounded corners and an incurvate beaded outside edge, joined at its back edge to an unfinished board beneath the three-drawer superstructure. This rear board is tenoned, at its lateral edges, to narrow transverse boards with incurvate, beaded outside edges. A molded U-shaped strip mitered at its front corners is face-nailed with brads to the top, concealing the joint between them and providing a frame into which sits the three drawers and mirror assembly by the upper case. The back of the rear top board is nailed with brads to the top edge of the single-board lower-case back. The front board is fixed to the case with three screw pockets through the underside of the top rail. The single-board case back is tenoned without wood pins to the square tops of the rear legs. The simple board case sides are also tenoned without wood pins to the rear legs and are fixed to the front legs with screw pockets in the inside faces of the case stiles. The single-board top of the three-drawer upper case is half-lapped to its sides, the bottoms of which are rabbeted to fit over the strips attached to the case top. The bottom of the upper case?s back board is fixed with countersunk nails to its single-board case bottom and the backboard?s top and sides chamfered to fit into grooves in the upper case?s top and sides. The single-board fronts of the three small drawers have veneered, cross branded faces and cockbeading nailed with brads. They meet their flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having narrow finely cut dovetails with half-pins above and below. Their single-board bottoms, parallel to the fronts, are chamfered at the front and sides, where they fit into grooves. The drawer sides are full-depth and the bottoms are nailed with brads into the drawer-back bottoms. Within the upper case is a full-depth bottom board flush with the top of the bottom rail and drawer guides nailed into them with brads. There is a small mortise in the back edge of the upper cabinet?s top. The rectangular, reeded, tapering, ivory-mounted posts and their attendant scrolling, flat-fronted ivory-mounted brackets enclose a rectangular mirror plate with a veneered, line-inlaid frame whose backboard is held in with brads. Joints between the posts, scrolls, and the upper case?s top are not visible. On the back side of each post, near the top, is a single nail. At the joint between the top of the mirror and the bottom of the back of its arched and serpentine crest is a thin horizontal block held in with brads. Within the lower case the bottom of the inside faces of the stiles meet the ends of the bottom rail in dovetail joints. The veneered top rail and drawer dividers are set into grooves in these stiles. Drawer guides are glued to the inner case walls; tip bars and drawer supports are fixed to these with rosehead nails. Drawer stops are glued to the inner-facing planes of the rear legs within the case. The drawer dividers are veneered. The lower-case drawer fronts are veneered and crossbanded, with cockbeading applied with brads. They meet their flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut narrow pins with half-pins above and below. The single-board drawer bottoms are parallel to the front and chamfered at the front and the full-depth sides, where they fit into grooves, and are fixed with brads and rosehead nails to the flat-topped drawer backs. The front legs are reeded, turned and tapered; the bottom rail of the lower case is lunette-inlaid. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, June 23, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

"News: College Museums, Exhibitions, Catalogues, Acquisitions, Information, Other Museums," Art Journal 36, no. 2 (1977): 343, ill.
Christopher P. Monkhouse, "American Furniture Recently Acquired by the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design," Antiques 118, no. 1 (July 1980): 127, pl. III, ill.
Eleanore Bradford Monahon, "The Rawson Family of Cabinetmakers in Providence, Rhode Island," Antiques 118, no. 1 (July 1980): 140, referenced in fig.12.
Carla Mathes Woodward and Franklin W. Robinson, eds., A Handbook of the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, exh. cat. (Providence, R.I.: RISD Museum, 1985), 322, no. 276, ill.
Christopher P. Monkhouse and Thomas S. Michie, American Furniture in Pendleton House (Providence: RISD Museum, 1986), 67–68, no. 14, ill.
Allison M. Eckardt, "Books About Antiques," Antiques 131, no. 5 (May 1987): 986.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 187, referenced in catalog entry for lot 729.
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), 4, 53, 109, 437–39, no. 104.