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Photo: Courtesy the Rhode Island Historical Society, 1865.2.1 (RHiX32656)
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Chest


Object number

RIF2086

Maker

Maker: attributed to John Clawson, worked 1646 - died 1660

Dimensions

79.375 x 132.08 x 61.595cm (31 1/4 x 52 x 24 1/4in.)

Date

1650–1680

Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society

Geography

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

Medium

Red oak (primary); pine (supports for till)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"This Chest belonged to the family of / Fields the former owners of what is / known by the name of Fields Point / in Cranston about two miles below / Providence bridge, and said by Eleanor / Field to have been brought from England / in the ship "Lyons" about the year / 1637, and has been owned by the family / ever since, and is now presented / to the Historical Society of Rhode / Island by William Field of / Pomfret Conn. one of the descend / ants of the first settlers of that / name in Rhode Island, and on / the Material side from / Roger Williams / Pomfret April 10th 1865," in brown ink, on paper label glued to underside of lid

Style

Jacobean

Provenance

Probable line of descent in the Field family: Thomas Field (1648–1717), England and Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son Thomas Field (1670–1752), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son Jeremiah Field (died 1768), Providence and Cranston, Rhode Island; by descent to his son Jeremiah Field (1746–1815), Providence, Rhode Island and Pomfret, Connecticut; by descent to his son William Field (1790–1878), Pomfret, Connecticut; given to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1865

Associated names

Thomas Field
Thomas Field
Jeremiah Field
Jeremiah Field
William Field

Construction

The top consists of three spline-jointed boards, parallel to the front; its cleats are replaced. It is attached to the back?s top rail by wrought-iron snipe hinges, and to its cleats by wood pins and by rosehead and other nails. At the back, upper and lower rails are tenoned and double-wood-pinned into corner stiles with chamfered tops. Intermediate stiles with chamfered edges are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the rails. Panels with chamfered edges are set into grooves in the edges of the stiles and rails. The top and bottom side rails are grooved across their whole length, chamfered at each panel and tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the front and back stiles. The intermediate stile is grooved, molded and tenoned without wood pins to the rails above and below. The panels are flat and set into grooves in their neighboring stiles and rails. The top and bottom front rails are grooved and gouge-carved across their whole length, chamfered at each panel, and tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the front stiles. The intermediate stiles have molded edges, are similarly gouge-carved, and tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the rails. The single-board fielded panels are set into grooves in their neighboring stiles and rails. On the inside faces of the lower portion of the front stiles are empty mortises, possibly indicating the former presence of wood brackets. Within the case, the top of the rail bears shallow indentations just inward of the snipe hinges. The neighboring portions of the top are slightly discolored. The inside faces of the rear medial stiles have molded edges; the side medial stiles? edges are chamfered. The inside faces of the rear panels have chamfered edges; the side panels? inside faces are flat. The inside face of the top rail is plain; its bottom edge is chamfered at each panel. The case bottom consists of five perpendicular butted boards with feathered edges. In the proper left upper corner of the case is a till whose front face is set into grooves and whose molded-edge lid is doweled into holes in the inside faces of the front and upper rails. Narrow wooden strips supporting the till are fixed with rosehead nails to the inside of the proper left front and rear panels. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, June 25, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Catalog of The Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History 18, no. 2 (April 1959): 64–65, no. 52, ill.
Robert Blair St. George, The Wrought Covenant (Brockton, Mass.: Brockton Art Center-Fuller Memorial, 1979), 68, fig. 81.
Joan Pearson Watkins Revocable Trust and Robert F. Trent, eds., New England Begins: The Seventeenth Century, 3 vols., exh. cat. (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1982), 2: 210-211, no. 171, ill.
Robert F. Trent, "New Insights on Early Rhode Island Furniture," American Furniture (1999): 209–212, fig. 1–2.
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), 138, no. 1.