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Photo: Courtesy The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wis., accession no. 1961.4; photo by Gavin Ashworth
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF798

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

89 1/2 38 1/2 21 1/4 in. (227.331 97.79 53.975 cm)

Date

1765–95

Current location

The Chipstone Foundation

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); white pine (outside guide for proper-left bottom drawer of lower case); yellow poplar (top of pediment); chestnut (all other secondary wood)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“R” and “L” [later], in graphite, on interior bottom of top drawers of upper case; “4,” in blue chalk, on proper-right side underside of upper case top [towards front]; “2,” in blue chalk, on proper-left of underside of upper case top [towards front]; “1,” in chalk, on interior back of proper-right bottom drawer of lower case; illegible chalk, on interior back of proper-left bottom drawer of lower case; possibly “2,” in chalk, on interior back of middle bottom drawer of lower case

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

John S. Walton, Inc., New York; sold to Polly Mariner Stone (1898–1995) and Stanley Stone (1896–1987), Fox Point, Wisconsin, 1961; bequeathed by Stanley Stone to The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wisconsin, 1987

Associated names

John S. Walton, Inc.
Stanley Stone
Polly Mariner Stone

Construction

The upper-case roof consists of several wide and some (later) thinner boards fixed with brads to the pediment backboard, the top of the scrollboard, the tops of the single-board upper case sides and to blocking behind the transverse portion of the crown molding returning into the pediment backboard. The two-board pediment back is fixed with rosehead nails to vertical blocking within the pediment. The pediment?s central fluted plinth, to whose front three faces is glued crown and base moldings, is backed by a vertical block, whose base has chamfered sides and is fixed to the back of the scrollboard with rosehead nails. The three half-lapped upper-case horizontal backboards below are fixed with rosehead and other nails to rabbets in the upper-case ceiling, case sides, and case bottom. The top of the upper backboard and the sides of all three backboards are slightly chamfered. The single-piece crown molding is face-nailed to blocking within the pediment and toe-nailed into the scrollboard and the case sides. The thumb-molded scroll plaques are nailed to the scrollboard from within the pediment. The front of the proper right plaque has one nail in the right side of its face. Within the case, tip bars nailed to the case sides obscure the joints between case sides and ceiling. Behind the scrollboard, which, like the drawer dividers below, is half-blind dovetailed to the case sides, are horizontal rectangular glue blocks. The drawer dividers, veneered with mahogany, align with drawer supports (all but the top proper left one are replaced) nailed to the case sides. The upper small drawers have a longitudinal support at the back of the case, set into grooves in the case sides. A vertical batten is set into grooves in the bottom of this support and in a mortise hole in the case bottom. A transverse small-drawer support is half-lapped to the longitudinal support and to the upper drawer divider. There is no drawer guide atop this support. The bottom rail is set into grooves in the case sides. Behind it are three longitudinal rectangular glue blocks. The two-board upper-case bottom is half-blind dovetailed to the case side with pins of varying configuration, large half-pins in front, and half-pins with rabbets in back. The waist molding, rabbeted to fit over the lower case, is fixed to the bottom ail and case sides with wood-filled fasteners. The upper-case drawer fronts-lipped, thumb-molded, graduated and long-kerf-marked meet their slightly shorter, arched-top sides in dovetail joints having finely cut, very narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The small-drawer bottoms were once fitted with touch latches. The full-width drawer bottoms are slightly chamfered at the front, where they fit into grooves, and the sides, where they are fitted with (replaced) glued-on runners. The bottoms are nailed with brads to the drawer backs, which have flat tops slightly chamfered at their backs and outside corners. The single-board, straight-skirted lower-case backboard meets the single-board, scallop-skirted case sides in dovetail joints having pins of varying configuration, with half-pins above and below. The horizontal board behind the top rail meets the case sides in dovetail joints having a large single pin reinforced with brads. The top rail is presumably dovetailed to the case side also, which joint is concealed by the half-lapped top of the front stiles, presumably blind-dovetailed to the case sides as well. Within the case, supports for the wide upper drawer are half-lapped to the drawer divider in front and set into grooves in the backboard. Further support for the flanking lower drawers is provided by rabbets in the rectangular blocks atop the legs. The legs are of the ?detachable? sort and are square-sectioned. The front legs have angular stylized-acanthus carved knees and knee brackets, angular ankles, rounded calves, and deeply carved toes grasping ball feet with undercut talons. The rear legs, whose knees project beyond the plane of the backboard, are similarly configured yet uncarved, with full-disc, shod pad feet. At the front of the lower case, near each joint between the skirtboard and front stile, is a single wood pin. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, May 23, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

Bibliography

Stanley Stone, "Rhode Island Furniture at Chipstone, Part II," Antiques 91, no. 4 (April 1967): 508, ill.
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, American Furniture at Chipstone (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), 26–28, no. 12, ill.