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Photo: Courtesy Newport Restoration Foundation, Newport, R.I., 2001.6
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF4372

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Height: 200.03 cm (78 3/4 in.); Width, lower case molding: 99.06 cm (39 in.); Width, front feet: 102.87 cm (40 1/2 in.); Depth, lower case molding: 53.5 cm (21 1/16 in.)

Date

1750–1770

Current location

Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (drawer linings, glue blocks, case bottoms and backs, and upper bonnet boards); yellow poplar (side bonnet boards)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“1,” in chalk, on interior back and possibly the front corners of the proper-right top drawer, upper case; “2,” in chalk, on interior back and front corners of top middle drawer, upper case; “3,” in chalk, on interior back and front corners of proper-left top drawer, upper case; “4,” in chalk, on interior back and inside front corners of 3rd drawer from bottom, upper case; “5,” in chalk, on interior back and front corners on 2nd drawer from top, upper case; “6,” in chalk, on interior back and front corners of lower drawer, upper case; “A,” in chalk, on interior back of upper drawer, lower case; “X,” in chalk, exterior middle drawer bottom, lower case; “D” or “B,” in chalk, on interior back of proper-left bottom drawer, lower case; “A,” in chalk, on interior back of proper-right bottom drawer, lower case; “B,” in chalk, on the interior back board, lower case; lumber marks (gouge marks), on interior back board and on proper-left side of upper drawer, lower case

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Dorothy A. Quigley (died prior to 1970), Lock Haven, Pennsylvania; consigned by her estate to Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, January 31, 1970, lot 186; sold to Doris Duke (1912–1993), Newport, Rhode Island; bequeathed to the Newport Restoration Foundation, 1993

Associated names

Dorothy A.Quigley
Doris Duke

Construction

The roof of the upper case consists of three thin boards (two flanking boards of equal size and a central board) shaped to align with the scrolling bonnet, and fixed with brads and rosehead nails to the scrollboard, case sides, interior transverse battens and back board below. The one-piece crown molding?s mode of attachment is not visible. The upper case consists of three lapped horizontal boards, fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the two-board case sides. Under the roof of the upper case are two transverse battens set into grooves in the backboard. Below them is a horizontally arranged transverse batten, set in a groove in the backboard, and dovetailed and nailed to blocking behind the scroll board, which prevents the central small drawer from tipping forward. The flanking small drawers are prevented from tipping forward by vertically arranged transverse battens affixed to the case sides. Across the back of the upper case is a longitudinal support for the upper drawers, to which is half-lapped two transverse supports, also half-lapped to the upper drawer divider. There are drawer supports affixed with rosehead nails to the case sides, the upper ones butted to the rear longitudinal supports, the lower ones full-depth. A vertical batten at the midpoint of the upper case interior is set into grooves in the longitudinal drawer support above and in the single-board case bottom below, and is nailed through the backboards with a single rosehead nail. Four rectangular horizontal glue blocks reinforce the joint between the case bottom and the bottom rail, which is set in grooves in the case sides. The case bottom meets the sides in dovetail joints, having large, thick-necked pins of varying configurations. There are two brads in the front of the case bottom, nailed into the bottom rail. The drawer dividers above meet the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The one-piece scrollboard is set into grooves in the case sides, lapped over the solid mahogany upper drawer dividers, and features two three-quarter round voids centering a simple plinth, to which is attached, by face-nailed brads, a small molding, doweled to receive a vase-turned and acorn-carved finial, chamfered at the back. The bottoms of the small drawers in the upper case have bottoms perpendicular to their fronts, and nailed into the fronts, sides and backs. The four lipped, thumb-molded and graduated long drawer fronts are attached to their sides with dovetail joints, having large, thick-necked pins of varying configurations, with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The drawer fronts bear prominent kerf marks. The drawer-side tops, some chamfered and some arched, are shy of the drawer-front tops. The tops of the drawer backs are chamfered in the rear. The drawer bottoms, parallel to the fronts, are set into grooves in the bottom pins of the drawer fronts. There are runners nailed to the sides of the drawer bottoms. The single-board, straight-skirted lower case back is dovetailed to the single-board, scalloped-skirted case sides. The top rail is dovetailed to the case sides. The stiles of the lower case are veneered, and there is a blocking strip between the veneer and the mahogany top rail at the corners. The drawer divider below is dovetailed to the long drawer supports, which are supported by lower-drawer guides and surmounted by long-drawer guides. Lower case small-drawer supports are half-lapped to the back of the skirt board and set into grooves in the case back. Small-drawer guides are tenoned into stiles above the skirt board and set into grooves in the case back. Flanking the carved shell at the back of the skirt board are vertical chamfered glue blocks with carved ends. The cabriole legs are of the ?detachable? sort, set in routed corners in the back of the case (the front of the case is not routed) and secured with chamfered vertical glue blocks. The knees are angular, the ankles are rounded and the heels of the shod pad feet are chamfered. Examined by P.E. Kane, J.N. Johnson, and E. Litke, February 4, 2013; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

See also


Bibliography

Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, Important Eighteenth Century American Furniture: Property from the Estate of the Late Dorothy A. Quigley, Lock Haven, PA, sale cat. (January 31, 1970), lot 186, ill.