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From: Gronning and Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition,"American Furniture(2013):28
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High chest of drawers

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to Job Townsend, Sr., 1699–1765
Maker, attributed to Christopher Townsend, 1701–1787


72 39 21 in. (182.88 99.06 53.34 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (backboards, drawer dividers, drawers supports, top of upper case, and top of lower case); yellow poplar (drawer bottoms and sides)




"M," within scrollwork in graphite, on interior bottom of drawer "D" in upper case; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk, on interior backs of small drawers in upper case; "B," in graphite, on underside of small center drawer in upper case; "D," "E," "F," in chalk, on interior backs of long drawers in upper case; "A," in chalk on interior back of long drawer in lower case; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk on interior backs of small drawers in lower case; illegible chalk ending in "y" on side of one drawer


Elizabeth Starbuck Hussey (died 1770) and George Hussey (1694–1782), Nantucket, Massachusetts; by descent to their daughter and son-in-law, Elizabeth (1731–1805) and Josiah Barker (1728–1803); by descent to the Potter family, Dartmouth, Massachusetts. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1969

Associated names

George Hussey
Descendants of the Potter family
Israel Sack, Inc.
Josiah Barker
Elizabeth Starbuck Hussey
Elizabeth Hussey Barker
Samuel Barker


The upper case contains three small and three long lipped, thumb-molded and graduated drawers, the small, upper ones fitted with touch latches attached with rosehead nails. The upper case drawer fronts have dovetail joints with finely cut, thick-necked pins, a half-pin above, and a half-pin and rabbet below. The single-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the drawer fronts, are nailed to the drawer sides. Drawer runners are glued and nailed with brads to the drawer bottoms, which are also nailed with brads to the drawer backs. The arched-top drawer sides are shy of the drawer fronts. The tops of the drawer backs are chamfered at the rear. The lower case has a single-board, straight-skirted, square-edged back and serpentine-skirted single-board sides. It contains one long and three small (one shallow and two deep) drawers. The long drawer has drawer supports and guides. The lower, flanking drawers have drawer supports and guides tenoned into the backboard and half-lapped to the serpentine skirt, which centers a turned pendant. The upper part of the legs are secured by rectangular chamfered vertical glue blocks. The angular, square-sectioned cabriole legs have rounded ankles and end in slipper feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, October 16, 2011. Notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


The large "M" within scrollwork found on the interior bottom of one of the drawers in the upper case is a mark found on the work of Christopher Townsend and his son John, see for example, the desk and bookcase, RIF 242, by Christopher Townsend, and the highchest, RIF5171, and card table, RIF765, by John Townsend.


Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 187, ill.
American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–89), vol. 2, p. 556, no. 1300, ill.
Erik K. Gronning and Amy Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition," American Furniture (2013): 28–29, fig. 63–64.
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), 41, 216, 217n1, fig. 4.