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Photo: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 10.125.32
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Chest with drawers


Object number

RIF4146

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Height, overall: 36 5/8 in. (93.028 cm); Width, top overall: 37 7/8 in. (96.203 cm); Width, case: 36 in. (91.44 cm) Depth, overall (back to rail moldings): 21 3/8 in. (54.293 cm) Depth, case: 19 7/8 in. (50.483 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, eastern white pine, poplar (microanalysis)

Inscriptions

A joiner's mark is scribed on the upper edge of each drawer side toward the front: on the upper drawer,"V" with the point facing out; on the lower drawer, "V" facing the same way, plus a vertical line on one side. Scored on the underside of one board of the lower drawer bottom are large sawyer's tally marks: "II" and "II" crossed by a diagonal line. Identification numbers painted on at the Preservation Society of Newport County are on the outside of the upper back board.

Style

Jacobean

Provenance

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

Associated names

H. Eugene Bolles

Construction

The chest is similar to cat. no. 98 [RIF 4145] in most aspects of its construction. The pins in the mortise-and-tenon joints are at the same two sizes, and several pins at drawer level were likewise not trimmed on the inside; here, however, some of the joints of the bottom rails, in addition to those of the top rails, are double-pinned. The grain of the wood in the front panels runs horizontally rather than vertically. The construction of the back and of the bottom of the chest compartment corresponds to that of cat. no. 98 and so does that of the drawers, including the strong beveling of the ends of the back. On this chest there is a case bottom consisting of three butted transverse boards slightly beveled at the edges and nailed to the underside of the rails. The molding applied to the front rail above the drawers differs somewhat, in that the center band is wider and has just a cyma reverse and fillet on either side. The base molding consists of a cyma recta. Source: Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art, (New York, N.Y.: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), 237.

Bibliography

Wallace Nutting, Furniture of the Pilgrim Century, 1620–1720 (Boston: Marshall Jones Company, 1921), 35, ill.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture of the Pilgrim Century 1620–1720 (Framingham, Mass.: Old American Company Publishers, 1924), no. 49, ill.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury, 1st ed., 3 vols. (Framingham, Mass.: Old American Company Publishers, 1928–33), vol. 1, no. 52, ill.
Walter A. Dyer, "The American Chest: Seventeenth Century," Antiquarian (October 1931): 37, (this and the previous Nutting references show the chest as acquired), ill.
Samuel Chamberlain and Narcissa G. Chamberlain, The Chamberlain Selection of New England Rooms, 1639-1863 (New York: Hastings House Publishers, 1972), 81, (as exhibited in the parlor of Whitehall Museum House, Middletown, Rhode Island).
Clarence P. Hornung, Treasury of American Design: A Pictorial Survey of Popular Folk Arts Based upon Watercolor Renderings in the Index of American Design, at the National Gallery of Arts, 2 vols. (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1972), no. 887, ill.
John G. Shea, Antique Country Furniture of North America (Florence, Ky.: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1975), 108, ill.
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), 237–239, no. 99, ill.