image of object
From: Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "A Catalog of the Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History vol.16, no.1 (January, 1957): 28–29, no. 22, ill.
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High chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


66 1/2 39 1/2 20 in. (168.91 100.33 50.8 cm)



Current location



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


Sycamore (case sides, drawer dividers, cornice and waist molding) and flame birch (primary); yellow poplar (backboards, drawer sides, drawer supports); sycamore (top); pine drawer bottoms


Illegible chalk inscription on backboards of upper case


Julia D. and Franklin R. Cushman, Providence, Rhode Island; gift to Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, October 7, 2006, lot 220

Associated names

The Rhode Island Historical Society
Franklin R. Cushman
Julia D. Cushman


UPPER CASE. The one-board top and bottom board are dovetailed to the one-board case sides; on the bottom board there are half pins at the front and back and three large and one small full dovetails between them; the case sides and back extend beyond the underside of the bottom board which has evidence of vertical sawmill marks. Three butted horizontal backboards are chamfered and fastened with "T" head nails to rabbets in the case sides. The muntin between the two narrow drawers is dovetailed through the drawer divider; the supports for the inner edges of the narrow drawers are tenoned into the case back. Full dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides. LOWER CASE: The case sides, front, and back are tenoned into the legs with three tenons at each junction. The undersides of the slipper feet have v-shaped platforms on which the feet rest. The back corners of the legs are chamfered behind the knees. The upper case is supported by narrow boards fastened to the tops of the lower case sides; to which the side waist moldings are attached; the front waist molding is run in the top rail of the lower case. The muntins between the drawers are dovetailed to the top rail, drawer divider and skirt. The pieces of wood that form the muntins for the lower drawers are as deep as the drawer divider. Each drawer has a central support tenoned into the case back and fitted to a rabbet in the skirt or drawer divider. At the sides of the case, guides are nailed to the sides through ends that are chamfered. Above the upper drawers narrow boards span between the legs and are nailed to the case sides; they keep the drawers from tipping when open. DRAWERS. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides with half pin at the top and bottom and one full dovetail between; the groove for the drawer bottom is visible in the bottom pin. The thick drawer bottoms are chamfered to fit in grooves in the drawer fronts and sides and are nailed to the underside of the backs. The top edge of the drawer sides has a central bead. The kerf marks for the dovetails are long. All the drawers in the upper case lock. The wires for the brasses have been replaced. Examined by P. E. Kane and M. Taradash, October 1, 2006


Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana Including Property from the Rhode Island Historical Society, sale cat. (October 7, 2006), 156, lot 220, ill.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "Catalog of The Rhode Island Historical Society Furniture Collection," Rhode Island History 16, no. 1 (January 1957): 28–29, no. 22, 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), 231n4.