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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Furniture Archive
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Tall chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Joseph Inman, 1764–1846


top width: 38 1/4 in. (97.155 cm) Feet width: 37 1/4 in. (94.615 cm) Case width: 35 7/8 in. (91.123 cm) Top depth: 19 in. (48.26 cm) Feet depth: 18 5/8 in. (47.308 cm) Case depth: 17 5/8 in. (44.768 cm) Height: 59 in. (149.86 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Maple (primary); chestnut (backboards and drawer linings); white pine (bottom board)


"Joseph Inman" [twice] / "Samuel Knop" [or "Hovey"] in chalk on the interior of the lower backboard


"Smithfield/ Lydia M[owry] / Her Drawers Made/ 2+ 1794" painted on backboard. "V" pointing toward the top edge of the drawer is incised on some of the exterior drawer backs. "1," "2," and "x" inscribed in graphite on some drawer parts.


Lydia Mowry, Smithfield, Rhode Island, 1794, who married William Ross; by descent to Mrs. James Wilson (née Deborah Ross, 1794–1868); by descent to Mrs. George Wade Smith (née Lucy Wilson,1822–1841); by descent to Mrs. Charles Field (née Lucy W. Smith, born 1841); by descent to Edith Field Wilcox (1872–1946); by descent to her great niece; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, October 24–25, 1986, lot 258

Associated names

Lydia Mowry
Deborah Ross
Lucy Wilson
Lucy W. Smith
Edith Field Wilcox
Descendant of Lydia Mowry Smithfield


Half-blind dovetails with a half pin at the front and a half tail at the rear fasten the top to the case sides. Below the top inside the case strips running from front to back keep the top drawer from tipping when it is open. The one-piece cornice molding is applied to the sides and front rail from the front. Half-blind dovetails fasten the top rail and the drawer dividers to the case sides; the bottom rail fits in a groove in the case sides. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides. The horizontal backboards are half-lapped together and are nailed to rabbets in the case sides and top and to the back edge of the bottom board with cut nails. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer fronts and backs to the drawer sides with a half pin at the top and a half tail at the bottom; the kerf marks on the drawer fronts are short and coarse. The grain of the bottom boards runs from side to side; the undersides of the drawers are chamfered to fit in grooves in the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back. The top edges of the drawer sides are rounded and are almost flush with the drawer fronts; the top edge of the backs are flat. The bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. The feet are reinforced with vertical glue blocks that rest against the case bottom; the horizontal blocks abut them. The rear brackets on the back feet abut the sides of the rear feet and are nailed to the underside of the bottom; their inner edges are angled. Examined by P.E. Kane, March 17, 2005


Sotheby's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Folk Paintings, and Chinese Export Porcelain, sale cat. (October 24–25, 1986), lot 258, ill.