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Photo: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10.125.33
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Chest with drawers


Object number

RIF4145

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Height, overall: 36 1/4 in. (92.075 cm); Width, top overall: 36 1/2 in. (92.71 cm); Width, case: 34 3/4 in. (88.265 cm) Depth, top overall: 21 1/4 in. (53.975 cm) Depth, case: 20 1/4 in. (51.435 cm)

Date

1670–1700

Current location

The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Geography

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

Medium

Red oak (stiles, rails, muntin, drawer divider, top, drawer fronts, sides, and backs, beveled moldings on front panels, moldings on lower drawer, center plaques on drawer front panels, moldings on lower drawer, center plaques on drawer fronts); southern yellow pine (front and side panels); hemlock (back, chest compartment bottom, drawer bottoms); eastern white pine (molding above and between drawers, old small moldings on front and side panels, plaques at center of front panels and old plaques on upper drawer panels, drawer runners); poplar (Populus) (large turning on left stile)

Style

Jacobean

Provenance

H. Eugene Bolles (1838–1910), Boston; sold to Mrs. Russell Sage, New York, 1909; given to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1910

Associated names

H. Eugene Bolles

Construction

The mortise-and-tenon joints of the top rails are secured with two pins, all others with one. The pins, except for those in the muntin joints (diam. a scant 1/4 in.), are big (diam. 3/8 in.), and several at drawer level were not trimmed on the interior and protrude as much as 2 inches. The grain of the two front panels runs vertically, that of the two side panels, horizontally. The top is formed of three longitudinal boards and is attached with snipebill hinges. The back consists of two horizontal boards, each beveled on four sides, butted at the medial rail, and nailed to the frame. Two transverse boards joined with a half lap make up the chest compartment bottom; they are nailed to a rabbet on the upper edge of the front and side rails and to the top of the back rail. The drawers are side-hung, and each side is joined to the front with a large dovetail, through the center of which the groove for the runner passes (fig. 110). The back is beveled at each end and nailed to the sides. The bottom is formed of two transverse half-lapped boards that are beveled to fit into a groove in the front and nailed to the other sides. The runners are let into the stiles. The front panels are built up with a central rectangular plaque surrounded by a beveled molding and a separate inner molding that, like all the other small applied moldings on the chest, consists of an ovolo, cavetto, bead, and fillet--a common profile (fig. 131). On the bottom drawer that same profile is worked on the inner edge of the beveled molding. The moldings applied to the front rails are each attached with three large T-headed nails. The one above the drawers has a cyma reversa, a fillet, and a fascia on either side of the central band and that between the drawers just an ovolo. The channel molding worked on the front and side rails has an ovolo at each side; that in the front muntin consists of just a concave profile. The stiles are rectangular. Hidden surfaces of the case and drawers were left entirely unfinished or just roughly dressed with a hatchet. Source: Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York, N.Y.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), 236.

Bibliography

Frances Gruber Safford, The Art of Joinery: Seventeenth-Century Case Furniture in the American Wing, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1972), n.p., no. 8.
Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: 1. Early Colonial Period, The Seventeenth-Century and William and Mary Styles (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), 234–237, no. 98, ill.