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Liza and Michael Moses Photographic Archive, Yale University Art Gallery
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Chest of drawers


Object number

RIF2822

Maker

Maker Unknown
Maker: formerly attributed to Edmund Townsend, 1736/7 - 1811

Dimensions

81.915 x 91.44 x 50.8 cm (32 1/4 x 36 x 20 in.)

Date

1765–1785

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (back, bottom, drawer dividers, drawer bottoms and back of top drawer); white pine (drawer sides, backs except above)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"1," in chalk, at rear interior corners of sides and back of top drawer; "2," in chalk, at rear interior corners of sides and back of middle drawer; "3," in chalk, at rear interior corners of sides and back of bottom drawer; "1," in chalk, on underside of proper left end of front batten under lid and on corresponding case side; "2," in chalk, on underside of proper left end of rear batten under lid and on corresponding case side; "3," in chalk, on underside of proper right end of front batten under lid and on corresponding case side "Top B," and "4," in chalk, on underside of proper right end on rear batten

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

By descent in the Rush-Hazard-Commodore familes. Dietrich American Foundation, Philadelphia. Private collection

Associated names

Rush-Hazard-Commodore Families
Dietrich American Foundation

Construction

The single-board top is molded at the front and sides and secured to the case sides by a continuous dovetail joint atop the case sides. It is further attached by rosehead nails and screws through two lengthwise cleats, one at the front and one at the back of the case, which are in turn joined to the case sides by dovetails. Each cleat has three horizontal rectangular glue blocks on its interior edge. The single-board sides are dovetailed to the single-board case bottom. The two board case back is nailed to the rabbeted case sides with rosehead nails. The case back is also nailed with rosehead nails into the cleat under the top and into the base board. A one-piece beaded cove molding covers the dovetail joint between the top cleats and the case sides. Under the top cleats are full depth blocks, which prevent the top drawer from tipping forward, attached to the case sides with rosehead nails. Each drawer has supports with chamfered ends, also attached to the case sides with rosehead nails. There are shadows on the inside of the case back and case sides of drawer stops, only one of which remains. The drawers are set in cockbeaded surrounds. The joint between the top rail and case side is blind, and the joints between the drawer dividers and the case sides and the bottom rail and the case sides are half-blind dovetails. The upper drawer front consists of convex carved shells flanking a concave carved shell. The proper left brass conceals a locking mechanism; the proper right brass is a dummy. The lower drawers are convex and concave blocked; each center brass conceals a working lock. The central section of the two lower drawer front interiors is built up with an applied block with curved ends. The drawer fronts are attached to their sides with a dovetail joint, with large, finely cut pins and half-pins above and below. There are scribe lines on the outside of the joint between drawer front and side and prominent kerf marks inside. The drawer side tops are slightly rounded, and just shy of the drawer front tops. The drawer back tops are slightly chamfered. The drawer sides, which are full depth, have grooves into which the chamfered, three-board drawer bottoms perpendicular to the fronts, are set. There are continuous blocks/runners in the joints between drawer side and drawer bottom. The back of the drawer bottoms are nailed up into the drawer backs with brads. The lower base molding is slightly proud of the case bottom and attached with brads. The ogee bracket feet have mitred corners. Several of the brackets contain later screws. Behind each foot is a full-height, shaped, vertical block, the top of which is flanked by shaped horizontal glue blocks, some containing later screws. The backs of the rear feet are simple shaped brackets butted to the mahogany side facings. Examined by P.E. Kane, April, 2008; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 272, 300, fig. 7.24.