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Photo: Courtesy Skinner, Inc., Boston and Marlborough, Mass.
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF5439

Maker

Maker: attributed to Amos Stafford, born 1726

Dimensions

176.53 x 99.06 x 53.34 cm (69 1/2 x 39 x 21 in.)

Date

1749

Current location

Private collection

Geography

Probably made in Coventry, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); pine (secondary)

Marks

"AS J[illegible] III / 1749," in red paint, on backboards

Inscriptions

“X [sometimes multiple],” on many interior surfaces of drawers; “3,” in graphite, on interior front, back, and sides of proper-right top drawer; “2,” in graphite, on interior front, back, and sides of proper-left top drawer; “O," in graphite, on interior front, back, and sides of center top drawer; “1” through “3,” in graphite, on interior sides [at front corners] of long drawers of upper case [from bottom to top]; “4” and “5” [later?], in graphite, on vertical dividers and guides for upper center drawer of upper case; “0,” in graphite, on interior back of drawers of lower case; “2, in graphite, on interior front of proper-right top drawer of lower case; “3,” in graphite, on interior sides and back [twice] of proper-right top drawer of lower case; “I,” in graphite, on interior front, back, and sides of proper-right bottom drawer of lower case; “2,” on interior front, back, and sides of center bottom drawer of lower case; “2,” in graphite, on interior front of proper-left bottom drawer of lower case; “II,” in graphite, on interior sides [at front corners] of proper-left bottom drawer of lower case; “I” and “II,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-left bottom drawer of lower case; “X,” in graphite, on proper-left interior side of lower case; "1" through "3," in graphite, on interior back of lower case; “X,” incised twice on interior back of lower case

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

John Waterman (1698–1751) and Mercy Stafford Waterman (1717–1811), Coventry and Warwick, Rhode Island; by descent to their daughter Ann Waterman (1748–1844) and her husband, John Clapp (1754–1817), Warwick, Rhode Island; probably by descent to their son Waterman Clapp (1788–1884) and his wife, Eliza Woodward (1793–1826), Providence and Warwick, Rhode Island; by descent to two of their daughters, Marcy Stafford Waterman Clapp (1821 - 1913) and Mary Magdalene Greene Clapp (1825 - 1919), Warwick, Rhode Island; by descent to their niece Eliza Woodward Tiffany (1858–1934) and her husband Frank E. Olds (1866 - 1956), Cranston and Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to Eliza’s cousin Ellen Louise Clapp (1856–1938) and her husband Charles Henry Allen (1844–1922), East Greenwich, Rhode Island; by descent to their son Howard Vernon Allen (1878–1969) and his wife Alice Whitford Butts Allen (1883–1944), Warwick and East Greenwich, Rhode Island; by descent to their son Vernon Sterns Allen (1906–1983), East Greenwich, Rhode Island; by descent to his wife, Ruth Curtis Allen (1908 - 1995), East Greenwich, Rhode Island; consigned to Christie Mercurio & Company, Wickford, Rhode Island, May 18, 1991; sold to Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Connecticut, 1991; sold to Barbara and Robert Levine, Old Greenwich, Connecticut; consigned to Skinner, Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts (sale held Marlborough, Massachusetts), August 14, 2011, lot 9 (unsold); Skinner, Boston and Marlborough, Massachusetts (sale held Marlborough, Massachusetts), August 11–12, 2012, lot 1084

Associated names

Marcy Stafford Waterman
John Waterman
Ann Waterman Clapp
John Clapp
Waterman Clapp
Marcy Stafford Waterman Clapp
Mary Magdalene Greene Clapp
Eliza Woodward Tiffany Olds
Frank E. Olds
Charles Henry Allen
Ellen Louise Clapp Allen
Howard Vernon Allen
Alice Whitford Butts Allen
Vernon Sterns Allen
Ruth Curtis Allen
Christie Mercurio and Company
Nathan Liverant and Son
Barbara Levine
Robert Levine
Skinner, Inc.

Construction

The single-board upper-case top is half-blind dovetailed to the two-board case sides. A single-piece crown molding is fixed to the front and sides of the case with brads and wood-filled fasteners. There is a single rosehead nail in the front of the case top joining it to the top rail below. The upper case-back consists of two horizontal boards, chamfered at the ends where they are nailed into rabbets in the case sides, and nailed directly to the upper case top. The two-board upper-case bottom is dovetailed to the case sides, and a single rosehead nail in the front fixes it to the bottom rail above. A small beaded cove molding is nailed with brads to the bottom of the upper case. The top rail, drawer dividers, bottom, rail, and the vertical dividers between the small drawers meet their neighboring elements in half-blind dovetail joints. Within the upper portion of the case are three transverse small-drawer supports set into grooves in the backboard, where they are supported by wooden ledgers nailed to the backboard, and half-lapped to the upper drawer divider. Guides for the upper drawers are set into grooves in the backboard (without ledgers) and in the backs of the stiles. Drawer supports nailed with brads to the case sides align with the drawer dividers. The lipped, thumb-molded drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter flat-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints, with large, thick-necked pins of varying configurations, and half-pins above and below. Small-drawer bottoms are perpendicular to their fronts and chamfered at the front and at the full-depth sides, where they fit into grooves. They are nailed with brads to the drawer backs above. Long-drawer bottoms are parallel to their fronts, and contain two boards which are chamfered more crudely than those in the small drawers. In the lower case, the double-arch-skirted, single-board case sides join the single-board scallop-skirted front board in dovetail joints, having thick-necked pins which decrease in size from top to bottom. The single-board, straight-skirted backboard also meets the case sides in dovetail joints, having wide-necked pins, similarly decreasing in size from top to bottom, with half-pins above and below. To the top of the lower-case front and sides is nailed with brads a horizontal board, with quarter-round protuberances at its front and top, into which sits the molding at the bottom of the upper case. Within the lower case are drawer supports set into grooves in the case back and half-lapped to the skirt board, drawer guides set into grooves in the backboard and the skirt-board, and short, chamfered drawer guides nailed with brads to the inside of the case sides. There is a guide for the upper two drawers, set into the skirt board in front and nailed with brads to a ledger nailed to the backboard. The legs are of the "removable" sort, set into the rabbeted corners of the frame without glue blocks. Each front leg has two quarter-round knee brackets, each rear leg one. The legs are square-sectioned, with angular knees, ankles and heels, ending in angular slipper feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, March 8, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

Skinner, Inc., Boston and Marlborough, Mass., American Furniture and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (August 14, 2011), 13, lot 9, ill.
"Skinner Auctioneers & Appraisers, American Furniture & Decorative Arts - Sale 2558M - Lot 9," http://www.skinnerinc.com/asp/fullCatalogue.asp?salelot=2558M++++++9+&refno=++906515 (accessed July 29, 2011), lot 9.
Skinner, Inc., Boston and Marlborough, Mass., American Furniture and Decorative Arts Featuring the Shaker Collection of Jean Brown, Tyringham, Massachusetts, sale cat. (August 11–12, 2012), 131, lot 1084, 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), 228–231, no. 36, fig. 1–3.