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Photo: Courtesy The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wis., 1948.2; photo by Gavin Ashworth
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Chest-on-chest


Object number

RIF281

Maker

Maker attributed Daniel Spencer, 1741 - 1796
Maker formerly attributed John Goddard, 1723/24–1785

Dimensions

209.55 x 106.68 x 54.61 cm (82 1/2 x 42 x 21 1/2 in.)

Date

1772–1790

Current location

The Chipstone Foundation

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (linings of drawers of lower case, bottoms of drawers in upper case, glue blocks on drawers, drawer dividers, blocks behind quarter columns, drawer supports of upper case, most drawer guides of upper case, drawer guides of lower case, backings muntins of upper case, kick bars for upper drawers, roof of pediment, backboards of pediment, glue blocks at front of case, drawer stops of upper case, and horizontal blocks on front feet); chestnut (backs and sides of drawers in lower case, backboards of upper and lower case, lower drawer guides in upper case, and dust board below small drawers); yellow poplar (lateral support for small drawers of upper case); cherry (bottom of upper case and top of lower case)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Upper case: “A” through “C,” in graphite, on interior backs of top drawers [proper-right to proper-left]; “D” through “G,” in graphite, on interior backs on long drawers [from top to bottom]; "1" or “I [? for interior?],” in graphite, on interior sides [at front corners] of drawers; mathematical figures, in chalk, on exterior bottom of proper-left small drawer; drawing of case piece skirt, in chalk, on underside of second long drawer from the top; “A” through “D,” on top surface of drawer dividers [top to bottom]; “Bottom,” in chalk, on underside of case bottom. Lower case: “T[op?],” in chalk, on upper surface of case top; full scale compass drawing for scrolled pediment top, incised on upper surface of case top; “A” through “C,” in graphite, on interior back of drawers of lower case (top to bottom); "1" or “I [? for interior?],” in graphite, on interior sides [at front corners] of drawers; illegible graphite, on top surface of divider beneath top drawer; “B,” in graphite, on top surface of divider beneath middle drawer.

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Jabez Bowen (1739–1815), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Henry Bowen (1785–1867), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Charles James Bowen (1827–1870), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Samuel Gilman Bowen (1791–1858), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Charles Gilman Bowen, Providence, Rhode Island; sold to Ginsburg and Levy, Inc., New York, 1948; sold to Polly Mariner Stone (1898–1995) and Stanley Stone (1896–1987), Fox Point, Wisconsin; bequeathed by Stanley Stone to The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wisconsin, 1987

Associated names

Jabez Bowen
Henry Bowen
Charles James Bowen
Samuel Gilman Bowen
Charles Gilman Bowen
Ginsburg and Levy, Inc.
Stanley Stone
Polly Mariner Stone

Construction

The roof consists of several thin boards shaped to align with the upper case?s two-part crown molding and nailed with brads to the tops of backboards, scrollboards, case sides, and the vertical sides of the opening between the scrolls of the open pediment. The crown molding is fixed from within the upper case by screw pockets in the scrollboard and by brads through the top of the case sides. The scrollboard is in three parts – the upper portion?s lower edge aligns with the top of the shell-carved upper drawer. This upper board provides a backing for the rosette-carved ends of the scrolling pediment (to which they are fixed with screw pockets), and support for the plinth between those rosettes (to which it is fixed with a single screw pocket). The central plinth has a molded base and plain cap and supports a stop-fluted urnform finial with corkscrew flame. Similar, simpler, flanking plinths support identical finials; each has an unfluted panel on its backside. The pediment?s three-part backboard is nailed with brads into rabbets in the case sides. The single-board flat roof between the pediment scrolls is nailed with brads to the top of the pediment backboard. The vertical walls of the area between the scrolls are nailed with brads to the pediment backboard. The upper-case back below consists of three half-lapped horizontal boards fixed with rosehead and other nails into rabbets in the case sides. The proper right upper case side is a single board; the proper left is a large board with an additional strip at the back. Within the case are tip boards for each upper small drawer, each board set into grooves in the backboard. The three drawers, the center one of which is shell-carved, rest upon a full-depth dust board and have vertical elements between them, to which the lower scrollboards are lapped. Interior drawer guides are nailed to the dust board and deeply chamfered at the back of the case. The outer drawer guides are glued to the dust board and case side, and align with the corner blocks behind the upper-case quarter columns. Below the dust board are drawer supports deeply chamfered at the back of the case, nailed with brads to the sides, set into grooves in the front corner blocks and tenoned into the drawer dividers. On top of the supports are drawer guides nailed to the case sides. There are five horizontal rectangular glue blocks behind the bottom rail, which is set into grooves in the case stiles. The stiles are dovetailed to the two-board case bottom, which meets the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints, the pins of which decrease in size from the front of the case to the back. The tops of the stiles are mitered to the lower scrollboards above. The drawer dividers meet the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints; the drawer openings are not cock-beaded. There are large vertical blocks in the front corners of the case behind the quarter columns, nailed, near the bottom, into the case sides. The upper-case large-drawer bottoms are parallel to their straight fronts and chamfered at the front and side, where they fit into grooves and are reinforced by horizontal glue blocks. The small-drawer bottoms are chamfered at the back also, where they are fixed with nails (most missing) to the drawer backs. The dovetail pins at the rear corners increase in size from top to bottom. The lower case top consists of two large longitudinal boards, rabbeted underneath to receive flanking narrow transverse boards which are half-blind-dovetailed to the two-board case sides and fixed with rosehead nails to the larger boards. There are prominent kerf marks inside the top of the case sides. The lower-case back consists of two half-lapped boards, fixed with rosehead and other nails into rabbets in the case sides and top and directly to the two-board case bottom, which is half-blind dovetailed to the case sides and nailed with three brads through its underside into the bottom rail. Within the lower case are drawer supports (the upper pair has been flipped) fixed to the case sides with brads and rosehead nails, and interspersed with drawer stops nailed with brads to the case sides. Cockbeaded drawer surrounds are nailed with brads to the case sides. The joints between the case sides and top rail are concealed; the blocked drawer-dividers and bottom rail meet the case sides in half-blind dovetails. The blocked drawer fronts are solid, except for the top drawer, whose convex shells are applied. They have prominent kerf marks, and meet their slightly shorter, arched-top sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut pins of slightly varying configurations, with half-pins above and below. The single-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the fronts, are chamfered at the sides and front, where they fit into grooves. There are wedge-shaped horizontal glue blocks under the joints between drawer fronts and bottoms. The feet consist of shaped vertical blocks (all replaced), flanked by horizontal blocks (some replaced), the whole faced with mahogany brackets. The rear feet are configured similarly, except for the back brackets (the proper left of which is replaced), which are simple straight brackets set into grooves in the side-facing brackets. The back-facing edge of the rear feet?s side brackets has an ogee profile. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, May 22, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

Alice Winchester, "Living with Antiques, The Milwaukee Home of Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Stone," Antiques 69, no. 5 (May 1956): 420–421, ill.
Stanley Stone, "Rhode Island Furniture at Chipstone, Part I," Antiques 91, no. 2 (February 1967): 212-213, ill.
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, American Furniture at Chipstone (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), 29–31, no. 13, ill.
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, "Living with Antiques: Chipstone near Milwaukee," Antiques 133, no. 5 (May 1988): 1150, pl. XII.
Wendy A. Cooper and Tara L. Gleason, "A Different Rhode Island Block-and-Shell Story: Providence Provenances and Pitch-Pediments," American Furniture (1999): 174, fig. 9.
Brock Jobe, "The Lisle Desk-and-Bookcase: A Rhode Island Icon," American Furniture (2001): 129.
Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, "Furniture Fakes from the Chipstone Collection," American Furniture, 2002 (2002): 56, fig. 2.
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), 313n4, 330n4.