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Photo: Courtesy Ralph Carpenter Papers, Joseph Downs Manuscript Library, Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Winterthur, Del.
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF1952

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

81 38 3/4 20 1/4 in. (205.74 98.43 51.44 cm)

Date

1750–80

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, drawer supports of upper case, backboards of upper case, bonnet dust board, tip bars, flat board between scrolls of bonnet, blocks on underside of upper case, drawer guides, and some leg blocks); pine (bonnet backboard, boards of scrolled bonnet top, bottom board of upper case, backboard of lower case, drawer supports of lower case, and some leg blocks)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“X,” incised on exterior backs and front corners of exterior sides of all drawers; “X/,” incised on interior drawer sides of uppermost middle drawer; “X/,” on top surface of upper drawer divider under middle drawer; “/,” incised on the interior back of uppermost middle drawer; “//,” incised on interior sides and back of proper-right uppermost drawer; “/X/,” incised on top surface of upper drawer divider under proper-right drawer; “/,” incised on interior sides and back of proper-left uppermost drawer; “X,” incised on top surface of upper drawer divider under proper-left drawer; “//,” incised on the interior back of middle long drawer in upper case; “/,” incised on the interior back of the lower long drawer in the upper case; “/,” incised on interior sides and back of long drawer of lower case; “/,” incised on interior sides and back of proper-right lower drawer; “//,” incised on interior sides of middle lower drawer and interior sides and back of proper-left lower drawer; “//X,” incised on exterior back of middle lower drawer; “X,” incised on exterior back of upper case; “X,” in chalk, on exterior back of lower case; “X” and “///,” in chalk, on exterior bottom of upper case; “1” through “5” [from proper-left to proper-right] [later], in graphite, on drawer supports of lower case and interior case back where corresponding drawer support is tenoned; “RF” [later], in graphite, on upper surface of proper-left leg; “//,” in chalk, on interior backboard of lower case

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

Originally owned by Captain Anthony Cole and his wife, Hannah Cole, Newport, Rhode Island, and New York State; by descent (always to the eldest daughter) to Marion Bergan; sold to Eden Galleries, Salem, New York, by 1966; sold to private collection, 1966

Associated names

Captain Anthony Cole
Hannah Cole
Eden Galleries

Construction

The upper-case roof consists of several thin boards nailed with brads into rabbets in the tops of the pediment backboard, the upper-case sides, and the single-piece scrollboard and directly to the tops of the sidewalls of the recessed platform behind the central plinth. These sidewalls are lap-jointed to the pediment backboard, as is the platform floor. The outside face of this area?s front wall serves as a recessed scrollboard. There are nails through its back face fixing it to the ends of the crown molding returns. These portions of the crown molding are fixed with wood-filled fasteners on their faces to the side walls of the recessed platforms, which pass through the recessed scrollboard. A molded cap is fixed to the top of its plinth with three recessed fasteners and two sprigs. The finial, whose dowel fits into a hole in the cap, is ovoid, partially fluted, surmounted by a corkscrew flame and cut in back to allow it to sit against the recessed scrollboard. The pediment backboard is nailed into rabbets in the case sides. The two horizontal half-lapped backboards below are fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the case sides, which consist of large boards in front to which are added narrow vertical strips in back. The scrollboard is set into grooves in the case sides. The vertical dividers between the upper small drawers are half-blind dovetailed to the scrollboard above and the drawer divider below. The drawer dividers are also half-blind dovetailed to the case sides; the bottom rail sits in grooves. Supports for the upper drawers are tenoned through the backboard and half lapped to the drawer divider in front. Full-depth tip bars and drawer supports are fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails. Supports for the bottom drawer, which are not full-depth, do not sit on the upper-case floor, and are set into grooves in the bottom rail. The two-piece upper-case bottom meets the case sides in dovetail joints almost entirely covered by transverse battens, fixed to its lateral extremities with rosehead and other nails. A single-piece waist molding is joined to the case sides and bottom rail with wood-filled fasteners and by nails toe-nailed through the front of the case bottom. The lipped, graduated, thumb-molded and kerf-marked drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter drawer sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins of varying configuration, with half-pins above and below. The drawer-side tops are arched in front and chamfered in back; the lower-case drawer sides are somewhat shorter than those in the upper case. The small-drawer bottoms are perpendicular to the front and chamfered to at the front, sides and rear. The long-drawer bottoms, parallel to the front, are chamfered to the front and sides, where they fit into grooves in the elements above, and are fixed with rosehead nails, brads, and wood pins to the flat-topped drawer backs above. The drawer-side tails extend beyond the plane of the drawer backs. The two-board, straight-skirted lower -case backboard meets the two-board, scallop-skirted lower-case sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins with half-pins above and below. The top rail of the lower case is half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. On the proper right the joint is reinforced by two wood pins in the tail and another wood pin through the case side. The front stiles conceal the joints between them and the case sides. The vertical divider between the small drawers are half-blind dovetailed to the drawer divider above and the single-board, shell-carved, scalloped skirt below. Set into grooves in the back of these dividers are drawer guides also set into grooves in the case back. At the joints between vertical divider and skirt board are vertical rectangular glue blocks. Supports for the upper long drawer are half-lapped top the drawer divider in front and fixed, in an incurvate cutout, with a rosehead nail to the case side in the back. Rectangular guides sit atop these supports. Guides for the flanking small drawers are fixed with rosehead and other nails to the case sides. Supports for the lower small drawers are half-lapped to the skirtboard at each drawer opening and chamfered at the back where they fit into grooves in the backboard. The legs are of the ?detachable? sort, held in place in part by rectangular vertical blocks glued and screwed into skirtboard, case side, and backboard. They are square-sectioned, having angular knees, shins and calves, with rounded ankles and full-disc shod pad feet. The back legs? knees project beyond the plane of the case back. The knee brackets are glued in place. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 6, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Bibliography

"Eden Galleries advertisement," Antiques 91, no. 1 (January 1967): 15, ill.