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Photo: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10.125.66
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Dressing table


Object number

RIF4147

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Height: 71.12 cm (28 in.); Width, top: 90.805 cm (35 3/4 in.); Width, case: 76.2 cm (30 in.); Depth, top: 54.928 cm (21 5/8 in.); Depth, case: 51.118 cm (20 1/8 in.)

Date

1710–1730

Current location

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Geography

Probably made in Connecticut, or possibly made in Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Cherry (case front and facing above legs, drawer fronts, case sides, stretchers); yellow poplar (case back, drawer sides, backs, and bottoms, partitions, medial drawer runners); birch (legs); soft maple (edging strip on skirts, square caps above legs and pendants, probably double-bead molding)

Inscriptions

On the exterior of both sides of the left drawer is abraded writing in chalk that is illegible except for a large "S." An Old Barracks Museum identification number in ink on cloth tape is under the right drawer. Modern numbers in pencil are on the back of the drawers and corresponding numbers on the partitions.

Style

William and Mary

Provenance

H. Eugene Bolles (1838–1910), Boston, Massachusetts; sold by him to Mrs. Russell Sage, New York, 1909; given by her to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Associated names

H. Eugene Bolles
Mrs. Russell Sage

Construction

The back and the front are joined to the sides with half-blind dovetails. The front is a single board in which one opening that accommodates all three drawers has been sawn out; what appears to be a rail above the drawers is an integral part of the board. At either end of that board, the front surface has been recessed to allow the applied facing (1/4 in. thick) above each leg, which conceals the corner joint, to lie flush. On the interior, the glued-on blocks in the corners extend to the top of the case and those above the pendants to the bottom of the middle drawer. The vertical transverse partitions between the drawers, rectangular in shape, are let into the back and were originally each secured with two nails through the back; they are nailed to the front board. The side drawers are each supported by a single runner, which is on the outer side and rabbeted and nailed to the corner blocks. The two runners for the middle drawer and similarly attached to the center front blocks and are let into the back. The upper tenons of the legs engage the corner blocks, and the lower extend through the stretchers into the feet, which are drilled through. The stretchers consist of two sections, each sawn from a single board and crossed and joined at the center with a half lap. On the drawers, the sides are joined to the front with half-blind dovetails and the back to the sides with through dovetails. The bottom is beveled all around, fits into a groove in the front and sides, and is nailed to the back. The applied molding at the top of the front and sides has a cyma recta profile. The skirts are finished with a nailed-on edging strip. Source: Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York, N.Y.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), 332.

Bibliography

Luke Vincent Lockwood, Colonial Furniture in America, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926), vol. 1, pp. 82–83, fig. 74.
Herbert Cescinsky and George Leland Hunter, English and American Furniture (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Dean-Hicks Company, 1929), 61, ill.
Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1. Early Colonial Period, The Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2007), 332–333, no. 128, ill.