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Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Joseph Rawson, Sr., 1760–1835


36 40 1/4 20 in. (91.44 102.235 50.8 cm)



Current location



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


Cherry (primary); white pine (case back, rear under support for top, vertical brace, glue blocks on feet, rear foot brackets, bottom board, drawer bottoms; chestnut (drawer sides).


"MADE / BY / Joseph Rawson, /PROVIDENCE.," printed, on a paper label glued inside back of top drawer


" J. SALSBURY, " branded, on one drawer bottom and inside the case back; "IIII" and" "III," with a slash across latter, incised, on underside of lower drawer; "4," "5," and "6," in chalk, on outside back of three upper drawers


J. Salsbury. Charles F. Montgomery (1910–1978), Wilmington, Delaware, and New Haven, Connecticut, before 1965; by descent to his widow, Florence M. Montgomery (1914–1998); consigned to Christie's, New York, October 21, 1989, lot 186. Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, New Hampshire, March 1–2, 2003. Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, New Hampshire August 4–6, 2006, lot 1794

Associated names

Charles F. Montgomery
Florence Mellows Montgomery
Northeast Auctions


TOP: The top is attached to the case with rosehead nails through a subtop of two battens at the front and back that are dovetailed to the one-piece case sides. The back edge of the top has a bead molding along the edge. The top rail fits into a rabbet in the case sides. BACK: The case back is two horizontal boards lapped together that are supported on the interior with a vertical brace nailed to them. The boards are nailed to the back of the subtop, rabbets in the case sides, and to the back edge of the bottom board. DRAWERS: The drawer dividers are dovetailed to the case sides. The drawer bottoms, which are two boards with the grain running front to back, are chamfered at the front and sides and fit into grooves in the drawer sides and are nailed to the underside of the back with sprigs. The glue blocks that reinforce the joints at the front and sides are replacements, but blocks may have been there originally. The tops of the drawer sides are flat with a slight chamfer and the tops of the drawer backs are flat. The dovetails are short with relatively thick necks; the kerf marks are short and fine. BASE: The feet rest on a frame that is mitered at the corners and nailed to the one-piece bottom board. The feet are reinforced with vertical blocks shaped to follow the curve of the foot; horizontal glue blocks abut them. The brackets on the rear feet have an angled inner face and are nailed to the underside of the case and fit in a slot in the side rear feet and are reinforced in front and in back with vertical blocks. Horizontal blocks at the rear of the brackets reinforce the joint with the case bottom. The top has been reattached with nails through the top into the sides. All the drawer runners, bottoms of drawer sides, and brasses are replaced. Examined by P. E. Kane, August 4, 2006.


Christie's, New York, Fine American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 21, 1989), 186, lot 353, ill.
Eleanore Bradford Monahon, "Providence Cabinetmakers of the Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Antiques 87, no. 5 (May 1965): 575, fig. 6–7.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 80–81, no. 54, Detail on p.167, fig. 54, ill.
Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, N.H., Important Americana, sale cat. (March 1–2, 2003), 116, lot 614, ill.
Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, N.H., 2006 Americana Auction, sale cat. (August 4–6, 2006), 278, lot 1794, 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), 455n8.
William C. Ketchum Jr., American Cabinetmakers: Marked American Furniture, 1640-1940 (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), 274.