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Photo: Courtesy Newport Restoration Foundation, R.I., 1999.531
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Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


33 1/2 × 38 × 20 in. (85.09 × 96.52 × 50.8 cm)



Current location

Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island


Possibly made in Newport, Rhode Island, or possibly made in Connecticut
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); pine (secondary)




“V,” in chalk, on interior back of all drawer; “Mrs. W. H. Nichols Jr. / Oyster Bay / N.Y.,” in graphite, on proper-right interior side of all drawers; “X,” incised on interior front of lower drawer


Jonathan Nichols (1700–1774), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to William Henry Nichols, Jr. (1873–1928), Oyster Bay, New York; by descent to his wife Rose Tilden Nichols (1873–1943), Oyster Bay, New York; by descent to her daughter Mrs. William Payson Viles (née Marian Nichols, died 1954) and her husband, William Payson Viles (1906–1986), New York, and Augusta, Maine; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York; sold to Lansdell K. Christie (1903–1965), Syosset, New York; by descent to Mrs. Lansdell K. Christie, Syosset, New York; consigned to Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., New York, October 21, 1972, lot 80; sold to Doris Duke (1912–1993) for Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island, 1972; Whitehorne House Museum, Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island, from 1974

Associated names

Jonathan Nichols
Nichols Family
Mrs. William Payson Viles
Israel Sack, Inc.
Sotheby Parke Bernet
Lansdell K. Christie
William Payson Viles
Doris Duke


The rectangular, single-board, oblong top has molded front and side edges- below which is a one-piece beaded cove molding- and a square back edge. It is secured to the case below by screws, brads, and rosehead nails in two transverse battens on its underside, one in the front and one in the back, which are attached to the single-board case sides by dovetails and by longitudinal rectangular glue blocks. The case back consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards, slightly chamfered at the sides, nailed into rabbets in the case sides with brads and rosehead nails, and with rosehead nails to the case bottom. Within the case are block fronted drawer dividers with integral cockbeading, with drawer supports behind, nailed with brads to the case sides and interspersed with vertical drawer stops glued into the rear corners. Additional strips above, also nailed to the case sides with brads, prevent the upper drawer from tipping forward. The joints between the drawer dividers and case sides are covered by strips of wood held on with brads. The three drawers are unlipped and are block-fronted; the upper one is shell-carved. Its central, concave shell is carved from the solid; the flanking convex shells are applied. The kerf-marked drawer fronts meet the drawer sides in dovetail joints, having large, finely cut, narrow-necked pins with a horizontally arranged half-pin above. The top of the drawer front is slightly arched and beaded; is it just shy of the drawer-front top. The multi-board drawer bottoms are slightly chamfered at the sides, where they join the drawer sides under applied runners, whose back ends are marked by diagonal scribe lines. The drawer bottom is fixed with rosehead and other nails into a rabbet in the drawer front. It is nailed directly, with rosehead and other nails, to the bottom of the drawer back. The drawer-back tops are flat, with a slight chamfer at the back. The outside top corners of the drawers are also slightly chamfered. The front feet consist of two horizontal blocks with chamfered ends, to the undersides of which are attached a shaped vertical block flanked by two shaped horizontal blocks, the whole faced with ogee brackets, the front faces volute-carved. The rear feet consist of two horizontal blocks, the side one with a chamfered end, the rear one square and supported by another chamfered horizontal block, with a shaped vertical block below. The back face is a simple, straight, slightly incurvate bracket, held in place on the backside with brads through a vertical block. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 27, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


This chest is related to RIF2899 and 1448.

See also


Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, The Lansdell K. Christie Collection of Notable American Furniture, sale cat. (October 21, 1972), 134–35, lot 80, ill.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 74–75, no. 51, ill.
"Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 102, no. 4 (October 1972): 517, ill.