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Photo: Courtesy Diplomatic Reception Rooms, United States Department of State
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Dressing table


Object number

RIF330

Maker

Maker Unknown
Maker possibly by John Goddard, 1723/24–1785

Dimensions

80.645 x 87.313 x 56.198 cm (31 3/4 x 34 3/8 x 22 1/8 in.)

Date

1750–1770

Current location

Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Department of State

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); eastern white pine (backboard and some drawer linings); chestnut (battens under top)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“/,” in chalk, on exterior back of upper drawer and on interior case sides at top back; arch, in chalk, on interior backboard; “In Side,” in chalk, on interior backboard; “X,” in chalk, on underside of guides for the lower drawers and on underside of proper-right support for upper drawer; “X,” incised on underside of outside guides for lower drawers

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Stephen Hopkins (1707–1785), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent in his family; sold to William W. Tapley (born 1868), Springfield, Massachusetts; sold to Hyman Kaufman (died 1947), Boston; consigned to American Art Association Anderson Galleries, Inc., New York, April 12–14, 1934, lot 445; sold to William Randolph Hearst (1863–1951), New York; consigned to Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, November 17–19, 1938, lot 538. Ginsburg and Levy, New York, sold to John Howland Ricketson III (1902–1986), Buzzards Bay, Massachusetts; sold to Ginsburg and Levy, New York, 1967; sold to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Department of State, Washington, D.C., 1967

Associated names

Stephen Hopkins
William W. Tapley
Hyman Kaufman
American Art Association
Anderson Galleries
William Randolph Hearst
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc.
Ginsburg and Levy, Inc.
John Howland Ricketson III

Construction

The rectangular oblong single-board top is molded on its front and side edges, where it is supported by a beaded cove molding attached with wood-filled fasteners. The overhanging back edge is square and the cove molding returns on itself at the rear corners. The top is secured to the case by three screwpockets (one each in the top front rail and each side board) and by two transverse battens on its underside, set into grooves in the front rail and passing through the backboard. Each batten contains two screws. Another, probably later batten is nailed into the case with brads and serves as a tip bar for the upper drawer. The single-board straight-skirted back meets the single-board scalloped-skirted sides in dovetail joints having thick-necked pins of varying configurations, with half-pins above and below. The dividers between the top and lower drawers are half-lapped to the skirtboard beside the carved shell and to the case stiles. Supports for the upper drawer are set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped to the drawer dividers in front; drawer guides sit on top of them. Supports for the small drawers are set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped to the skirtboard. Each small drawer has a guide within the case and one against its walls, each set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped to the skirtboard or front stiles. The upper lipped, kerf-marked, thumb-molded drawer front meets its slightly shorter, flat-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having thick-necked dovetails with half-pins above and large half-pins with grooves below. The tails are reinforced with brads. There is a triangular vertical block in the upper drawer?s proper right rear corner. The two-board, full-width drawer bottom, parallel to the front, is flat, set into the groove in the drawer front, nailed with brads to the drawer back, and fixed to the sides by a method covered by its (replaced) glued-on runners. The small drawers? dovetail joints are not reinforced with brads, and their single-board bottoms, perpendicular to the fronts, are set into rabbets in the drawer fronts and nailed with brads to the elements above. The tops of the drawer sides are slightly rounded; the tops of the drawer backs are flat. Within the case the backboard is routed at its extremities to receive the legs, which are of the ?detachable? sort, held in place by vertical blocks – larger ones in back and smaller ones in front – glued and screwed. The square-sectioned legs have angular stylized-acanthus-carved knees and glued-on brackets, and square front ankles having prominent carved tendons: and claws with undercut talons grasping spherical ball feet. The rear legs, which project beyond the face of the backboard, have rounded knees and shod pad feet with incised heels. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, August 21, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

American Art Association and Anderson Galleries, New York, American Furniture: Property of Hyman Kaufman, Boston, Mass., Part I, sale cat. (April 12–14, 1934), 108–109, lot 445, ill.
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, The William Hearst Collection, Part II: Early American Furniture and Historical Staffordshire Ware, sale cat. (November 17–19, 1938), 186–87, lot 538, ill.
American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 9, p. 170, ill.
"Ginsburg and Levy, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 91, no. 2 (February 1967): 155.
Robert C. Smith, "Masterpieces of Early American Furniture at the United States Department of State," Antiques 98, no. 5 (November 1970): 768, pl. IVA.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 233–234, fig. 5.22, 5.22a–b.
Harold Sack, "The Furniture," Antiques 132, no. 1 (July 1987): 170.
Clement E. Conger, Alexandra W. Rollins, and Mary Itsell, Treasures of State: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 1991), 130–131, no. 50, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 128, referenced in the catalogue entry for lot 679.