image of object
Photo Courtesy Yale University Art Gallery, Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, 1930.2682
Click the image to enlarge

Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


32 3/8 36 13/16 21 1/4 in. (82.3 93.5 53.9 cm) Case: 35 5/16 19 13/16 in. (89.7 50.3 cm)



Current location

Yale University Art Gallery


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


Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (drawer sides, bottoms, back); eastern white pine (partial dustboards, bottom, blocks); eastern red cedar (center portion of slide)




"6 V"(?) or "4 V"(?), in chalk, on exterior back of upper drawer; "4," in graphite, on interior of proper-right side of upper drawer; "V," in chalk, on exterior back of second drawer from top; "5," in graphite, on interior sides of second drawer from top; "V," in chalk, on exterior back of third drawer from top, "6" [upside down], in graphite, on interior of proper-right side of third drawer from top; "X 7" [upside down], in chalk, on exterior back of lower drawer; "7," in graphite, on interior of proper-right side of lower drawer; "Bottom / X," in chalk, on underside of case bottom


George S. Palmer, New London, Connecticut; sold to Israel Sack, New York, 1928; consigned to American Art Association Anderson Galleries, New York, October 18-20, 1928, lot 268 (unsold); sold by Sack to Francis P. Garvan (1875–1937), New York, 1929; given to the Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Connecticut, 1930

Associated names

George Smith Palmer
Francis P. Garvan
Israel Sack, Inc.


The rectangular single-board top is molded at the sides, molded and shaped at the front to conform with the drawer-fronts below, and secured to the single-board case sides with blind dovetails. The single-board case back is nailed with brads into rabbets in the case sides, and top and directly to the two-board case bottom, which is dovetailed to the case sides and joined to the front base molding with a single rosehead nail, and a large box joint. The case contains a block-fronted dressing slide whose front is mitered and tenoned to its side rails and tenoned to the cedar boards of the slide. Within the case are full-depth drawer supports with chamfered ends and vertical drawer stops, all nailed to the case sides with brads. The cock-beaded drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. There is no top rail. The bottom rail, set in grooves in the case sides, has behind it four horizontal rectangular glue blocks. The four block-fronted, graduated drawer-fronts are carved from the solid except for one, in which the central, concave section is reinforced within. The fronts are attached to the sides with dovetail joints, having finely cut, slender, narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and rabbets below. The tops of the drawer sides are slightly arched and just shy of the drawer front tops. The tops of the drawer backs are flat. The drawer bottoms are parallel to the fronts and consist of large boards with narrow additional strips at the back, nailed with brads and cut nails to the drawer backs above. They are set in rabbets in the bottom of the drawer sides and secured thereto by runners nailed with brads, and nailed with cut nails in rabbets in the drawer fronts. The faces of the front ogee bracket feet are mitered, their bottoms chamfered. Behind are full-depth vertical rectangular blocks attached directly to the case bottom. Butted to the vertical blocks are carved horizontal glue blocks, further attached with rosehead nails. The rear feet are similarly configured at the sides. Their back brackets are trapezoidal, with chamfered edges, nailed to the case bottom and attached with a half-dovetail joint to the side facings and reinforced by horizontal chamfered glue blocks fixed to the case bottom, and vertical glue blocks fixed to both rear bracket and side facing. Examined by P.E. Kane, J.S. Gordon, J.N. Johnson, T.B. Lloyd, January 9, 2013; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


2/25/92 Furniture Study

See also


Wendy A. Cooper and Tara L. Gleason, "A Different Rhode Island Block-and-Shell Story: Providence Provenances and Pitch-Pediments," American Furniture (1999): 194, fig. 45.
Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 123, 137–138, no. 58, ill.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, 1st ed., 3 vols. (Framingham, Mass.: Old American Company Publishers, 1928–33), vol. 1, no. 266, ill.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963), no. 266, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 340, fig. 8.25.
Anderson Galleries, New York, The George S. Palmer Collection Removed from "Westomere", New London, Conn. sold by order of Mr. I. Sack, Boston, Mass., sale cat. (October 18–20, 1928), 124–25, lot 268.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 70–71, no. 49.