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Dressing bureau


Object number

RIF4548

Maker

Maker attributed Joseph Rawson and Son, active 1808?26
Maker formerly attributed Joseph Rawson, Sr., 1760?1835

Dimensions

73 x 38 1/2 x 21 in. (185.42 x 97.79 x 53.34 cm)

Date

ca. 1815

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany and birch (primary); pine (drawer fronts, drawer dividers, blocks inside front corners, wood under the small drawers; back board lower case); chestnut (drawer sides, drawer supports and stops for large drawers, back board upper case); yellow poplar (back board on looking glass)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"N 2," overlaid (later) with "Brownell / 119 Hope St / Bristol, / 3.00," in graphite, on back of looking glass crest; " N 2," in graphite on interior of bureau backboard; " 4" above on arc, in graphite, on interior back of proper-right drawer in upper section; "4," in graphite on interior bottom of proper-right drawer and on board below that drawer in upper section; " 5" above on arc, in graphite, on interior back of middle drawer in upper section; "no 17," in graphite on interior bottom of middle drawer and "x 5," in graphite,on board below middle drawer in upper section; "6" above an arc, in graphite on interior back of proper-left drawer in upper section; "$65," in graphite, on interior bottom of proper-left drawer in upper section; "N2 / 6," in graphite, on board below proper-left drawer in upper section; "4" above an an arc, in graphite, on interior back of top drawer in lower section; "4," in graphite, on interior bottom of top drawer in lower section; "x 4," in graphite, on interior front of top drawer in lower section; "4," in graphite, on drawer divider below top drawer in lower section; "5" above an an arc, in graphite, on interior back of middle drawer in lower section; "5," in graphite, on interior bottom of middle drawer in lower section; "5," in graphite, on interior front of middle drawer in lower section; "5," in graphite, on drawer divider below top drawer in lower section; "6" above an an arc, in graphite, on interior back of lower drawer in lower section; ; "x 6," above an arc, in graphite, on interior front of lower drawer in lower section; "6," in graphite, on drawer divider below top drawer in lower section

Style

Federal

Provenance

Christie's, New York, January 15–16, 1999, lot 729. Private collection

Associated names

Christie's

Construction

The primary, or lower case-top consists of a front board with outset rounded corners and a square inlaid 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 square, inlaid outside edges. A molded U-shaped strip is fixed to the top, concealing the joint between the boards and providing a frame into which sits the three drawers and mirror upper case assembly. 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 lower case with three screwpockets through the underside of the top rail. The single-board case back is tenoned without wood pins to the tops of the square rear legs. The single-board sides are also tenoned without wood pins to the rear legs and are fixed to the front legs with three screwpockets in the inside faces of three-quarter depth boards inside the case sides. These serve as case stiles, drawer guides and nailers for drawer supports. The single-board top of the three-drawer upper case is half-lapped to its sides. Transverse strips attached to the upper case?s underside serve as blocking. The upper case?s backboard is fixed with brads to its case bottom and to the backs of stiles within which fit into grooves in the top?s underside. The backboard?s top and sides are chamfered to fit into grooves in the upper case?s top and sides. The single-board fronts of the three small drawers have veneered, crossbanded faces and cockbeading nailed with brads. They meet their flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins (partially obscured by cockbeading) 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 fixed with rosehead nails to the drawer-back bottoms. Within the upper case is a full-depth bottom rail, and full-depth, full-height drawer guides/stiles. The rectangular, reeded, tapering, ivory-mounted posts and their attendant scrolling, ivory-mounted brackets enclose a rectangular mirror plate with a veneered, line-inlaid frame whose backboard is held in with brads. Screws countersunk in the posts? inside faces connect them to their brackets. Joints between the posts and scrolls and the upper case?s top are not visible. The back edge of the mirror?s arched and serpentine crest is chamfered. Within the lower case the drawer dividers are set into grooves in the large boards inside the case sides. Tip bars and drawer supports are fixed to these boards with rosehead nails. Drawer stops are glued to the front-facing planes of the rear legs within the case. The lower-case drawer fronts are slightly kerf-marked, veneered, and crossbanded, with cockbeading applied with brads. They meet their flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut narrow pins (partially obscured by cockbeading) with half-pins above and below. The single-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the front, are chamfered at the front and the full-depth sides, where they fit into grooves. At the sides they are accompanied by rectangular longitudinal glue blocks, and at the rear they are fixed to the drawer backs with rosehead nails. The front legs are turned and tapered. Examined by P.E. Kane, September 16, 2015; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 187, lot 729, ill.
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), 113n44, 439n4.