image of object
Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Historical Society, 1974.31.1
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Chest with drawer

Object number



Maker Unknown


27 1/2 49 20 1/4 in. (69.85 124.46 51.435 cm)



Current location

The Rhode Island Historical Society


Probably made in Warren, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Red oak (framing elements, panels, till, center molding of drawer, drawer supports, and drawer front, sides, and back); chestnut (most bottom boards, applied molding of front panels, and drawer bottom); white pine (top, lower back board, and center board of bottom); maple (split spindle); chestnut or oak(?) (molding of drawer front) (the oak, chestnut, and pine by microanalysis)






By descent in the Cranston family, probably from Benjamin Cranston (1754–1823), Warren, Rhode Island; by descent to his great-grandson William A. Cranston (1851–1908), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son William Ira Cranston (1878–1974), Providence, Rhode Island; bequeathed to the Rhode Island Historical Society, Providence, 1974

Associated names

Cranston family
William I. Cranston
Benjamin Cranston


The single-board top has a thumb-molded edge, is lacking its cleats, and is attached to the top rail of the back by two pairs of wrought-iron snipe hinges. At the proper left end of the proper left rear top rail is a portion of another snipe hinge. At the back, upper and lower rails are tenoned and double-wood-pinned into the corner stiles. Intermediate stiles with chamfered edges are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the rails. Set into the stiles and rails are single-board chamfered panels with prominent plaining marks. Visible below the bottom rail are the ends of the five half-lapped boards of the storage-well bottom below which is a backboard, chamfered at both ends where it is set into rabbets in, and fixed with rosehead nails to, the rear stiles. The side top rails are grooved and have a square bottom edge. The side bottom rails, also grooved, have a molded bottom edge and a top edge chamfered at each panel. The medial stile ? grooved, with molded edges ? is tenoned and single-wood-pinned to the rails above and below. The side panels are flat. The front rails ? top, middle and bottom ? are grooved and each is double-wood-pinned to the grooved front stiles. The grooved upper stiles are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the upper and middle front rails. The flanking front panels are flat, carved with geometric and floral motifs, with surrounding glued-in moldings. The central panel contains an architectural motif, centering a glued split spindle. A single long drawer below is faced to simulate two small drawers. Its moldings, including a central element imitating a grooved stile, are held on with brads. The flat-topped drawer sides are routed, allowing them to rest upon supports set into grooves in the case stiles. There is a rosehead nail in the inside face of each stile, just below each end of the drawer support, to help secure the backboard. On the back of the rear stiles the nails locations are laid out with scribe lines. The drawer sides meet the front in rosehead nail pockets. At the ends of the drawer back are rosehead nails fixing it to the end of the drawer sides. The six board half-lapped drawer bottom is perpendicular to the front, chamfered at the back and fixed with rosehead nails to the drawer front and back. Within the storage well the inside face of the rear rail is grooved above the rear panels, and the inside faces of the rear stiles have molded edges. The inside face of the side top rail is plain, as is the medial stile below; the inside of the side panels are chamfered. The inside front corners of the top of all four corners are chamfered. In the proper left upper corner of the case is a till, whose front face is set into grooves and whose molded-edge lid is doweled into holes in the inside faces of the front and rear upper rails. The till bottom is set into grooves in the proper left front and rear stiles. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, June 25, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


This chest is related to RIF3953.

See also


Robert F. Trent, "New Insights on Early Rhode Island Furniture," American Furniture (1999): 213, fig. 7.
Robert Blair St. George, The Wrought Covenant (Brockton, Mass.: Brockton Art Center-Fuller Memorial, 1979), 67, fig. 80.
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), 1, 13, 146–149, 371, no. 6.