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From: "Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement" Antiques 135 (June 1989): inside cover
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF804

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

85 39 1/2 21 3/4 in. (215.9 100.33 55.245 cm)

Date

1765–95

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (backboards, drawer dividers, some drawer supports, blocks behind front corner veneer in lower case, guides for side drawers in lower case, side scroll boards on pediment, top rail of lower case, blocks for rear legs, blocks at the front rail of upper case, bottom board of upper case and drawer bottoms lower case; yellow poplar (drawer sides); cottonwood [?] (drawer supports of side drawers in lower case, supports and guides for upper drawer, center board on pediment)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“X,” incised, on exterior backs of large drawers in upper case; “XI” and “XII,” incised, on exterior backs of small drawers in upper case; “X,” incised, on exterior back of long drawer in lower case; “X,” incised, on lower center drawer of lower case; “XI” and “XII,” incised, on backs of deep drawers in lower case

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Christopher Lawton (1728–1752), South Kingstown, Rhode Island; by descent in his family, before 1970. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1970

Associated names

Christopher Lawton
Elizabeth Tripp
William Browning
Israel Sack, Inc.

Construction

The upper-case roof consists of three thin boards. The uppermost, flat board is nailed to the top of the upper case backboard, to transverse battens set into grooves in the backboard, and to a rabbet in the top of the pediment backboard. Flanking roof boards shaped to align with the serpentine pediment are nailed to the transverse battens, the top of the pediment scrollboard and its blocking, and the tops of the upper case backboard and the case sides. There are two horizontal half-lapped case backboards below, fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the case sides. The single-piece crown molding is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to the scrollboard and case sides. The joints between the scrollboard and its thumb-molded plaques are not visible, nor are joints between the pediment backboard and its perpendicular segmental roof, which contains several face-nailed brads. Centering the scrollboard is a rectangular fluted plinth with a base molding and simple cap (both face-nailed with brads) in which sits the turned dowel of a fluted urnform finial with corkscrew flame. The back of the finial is not fluted. The ends of the scrollboard, and of the drawer dividers below, are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The bottom rail is set into grooves in the sides, which consist of: the proper left, one board; the proper right, two boards. Tip bars and drawer runners are nailed with brads to the inside of the case sides. Behind the bottom rail are three horizontal chamfered glue blocks. There are two horizontal rectangular glue blocks at the joint between the scrollboard and the upper-case ceiling. The vertical divider between the upper small drawers is half-lapped to the scrollboard above and half-blind dovetailed to the drawer divider below. On either side of the upper joint is a small rectangular vertical block. Under the vertical divider a medial drawer support is half-lapped to the drawer divider in front and half-lapped to a longitudinal small-drawer support set into grooves in the case sides. A drawer guide sits on top of the support. The upper and lower cases? long drawers? lipped, thumb-molded, and graduated drawer fronts meet their nearly flush, flat-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having large, finely cut, thick-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The full-width drawer bottoms, parallel to the fronts, are flat (some are slightly chamfered at the sides), sit in grooves in the drawer fronts, and have glued-on runners. One upper and lower-case small-drawer bottoms are also flat, but perpendicular to the fronts, and nailed with brads to rabbets in the drawer fronts and directly to the drawer sides and backs above. The upper-case small drawer is currently, the other formerly, fitted with a touch-latch, fixed to its bottom with rosehead nails. The two-board upper-case bottom is joined to its case sides by dovetail joints almost entirely obscured by transverse battens at its lateral extremities, securing the upper to the lower case. The battens are held on with rosehead nails. The bottom of the single-piece waist molding is flush with the bottom of the case sides, and is held on in part by brads toe-nailed through the case bottom. The single-board, straight-skirted lower-case back meets its single-board, kerf-marked, scallop-skirted case sides in dovetail joints having thick-necked pins. A transverse rail is half-blind dovetailed to the tops of the lower-case sides in front. A mahogany face strip is glued to the front of this rail. Below these assemblies at each corner is a stile whose veneer conceals its connection to the serpentine case sides. The top rail, the drawer divider below, and the scallop-skirted, shell-carved skirt board presumably are set into grooves in these stiles, which are routed to receive the tops of the legs. Supports for the long upper drawer are half-lapped to the drawer divider, and set into grooves in the backboard. Drawer guides for the long drawer and flanking small drawers are glued and nailed to the tops and bottoms, respectively, of these supports. Small-drawer supports are half-lapped to the bottoms of the drawer openings in the skirt board (and reinforced with nails), and set into grooves in the backboard. The vertical dividers between the small drawers are set into grooves in the horizontal drawer divider above and meet the skirtboard in a half-dovetail joint below. Small-drawer guides are half-lapped to the backs of the vertical dividers and set into grooves in the case back. The legs are of the ?detachable? sort, held into the routed-out case corners in part by later vertical rectangular glue blocks. The rear legs are square in section, with angular knees, rounded calves, heels, and full-disc shod pad feet. Knee brackets are held on with glue. Examined by P.E. Kane, September 15, 2015; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 3, pp. 584, 588–589, no. 1352, ill.; vol. 4, p. 854, no. 1352, ill.; vol. 6, p. 8, no. P3048, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), plate 22, ill.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 135, no. 6 (June 1989): inside cover, 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), 233n3.