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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Tall chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


57 39 1/2 20 1/2 in. (144.78 100.33 52.07 cm)



Current location



Possibly made in Providence, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Maple (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, platform for the feet); yellow poplar (glue blocks on the drawers); pine (backboards, case bottom and top, glue blocks on the feet).


"!," "2," "3," "4," "5," and "6" in graphite on the exterior of the drawer backs and on the corresponding case sides.


Josephine Clay Ford (1923–2005) and Walter Buhl Ford II (1920–1991), Grosse Point Farms, Michigan; consigned by her estate to Sotheby's, New York, October 6, 2006, lot 359. Heller Washam Antiques, Woodbury, Connecticut, and Portland, Maine, 2007

Associated names

Josephine Clay Ford
Heller Washam Antiques
Walter Buhl Ford II


Half-blind dovetails attach the top rail to the case sides. Through dovetails attach the top of the case to the case sides with a half pin at the front corners and no pin at the rear corners. The cornice molding, which is two-part with an inner core, is nailed to the case sides and top from the exterior as well as through the top. Half-blind dovetails attach the drawer dividers to the case sides. Half-blind dovetails attach the drawer fronts to the sides with a half pin at the top and no pin at the bottom; the kerf marks on the drawer fronts are fine and short. The drawer bottoms are chamfered on the underside and fit into grooves in the drawer front and sides; those joints are reinforced with glue blocks. The drawer bottoms are nailed to the underside of the drawer backs with five nails. The base moldings are nailed to the case sides and the lower rail. The lower rail is let into a groove in the case sides. The feet and their glue blocks rest on platform attached to the chest bottom on three sides and partially across the back under the feet. The vertical glue blocks rest on horizontal glue blocks that are mitered and rest on the platform. The outline for the rear bracket on the back feet is ogee-shaped; the brackets butt the rear side feet. A toggle to lock the top drawer is nailed to the back of the top drawer divider. Examined by P.E. Kane, October 1, 2006.


The use of a platform between the feet and the case bottom is a construction feature associated with Providence cabinetmaking.


Sotheby's, New York, Property from the Collection of Josephine and Walter Buhl Ford II, sale cat. (October 6, 2006), 182–83, lot 361, ill.
"Heller Washam Antiques advertisement," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (August 10, 2007): 43, ill.