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Photo: Courtesy Christie's, New York
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF4182

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

88 1/2 39 21 1/2 in. (224.79 99.06 54.61 cm)

Date

1760–70

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Made in Rhode Island, or made in eastern Connecticut, or made in southeastern Massachusetts
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany (primary); maple (top backboard of upper case); pine (all other secondary wood)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"4 4," in chalk, on proper-left exterior rear corner of proper-right upper drawer; multiple numbers, in chalk, on interior and exterior and proper-right side of middle upper drawer; "0," in chalk, on exterior proper-left side [at back] of proper-left upper drawer; "1," in chalk on exterior back of proper-left drawer; illegible script, in chalk, on interior proper-left side [at back] of upper long drawer; "V," in chalk, on exterior back of upper long drawer; "0 /," in chalk, on exterior proper-right side [at front] of second long drawer from top; "0" and "6," in chalk, on exterior back [at proper-left and -right corners, respectively] of third long drawer from top; "3" and half circle," in chalk, on exterior back [at proper-left and -right corners, respectively] of lower long drawer; "V," in chalk, on exterior back and proper-left side [at proper-left corner] or long drawer of lower case; illegible chalk, on proper-left exterior side of middle drawer of lower case; compass mark inscribed on top of bonnet

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

Wayne Pratt, Woodbury, Connecticut; sold to Rosebrook Collection, 1997; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 22, 2016, lot 69. Roberto Freitas, Stonington, Connecticut, 2019

Associated names

Wayne Pratt, Inc.
Rosebrook Collection
Christie's
Roberto Freitas

Construction

The upper-case roof consists of several thin boards fixed to the top of the pediment back board, the top of the scrollboard, and the tops of the single-board upper-case sides with rosehead nails. A chamfered transverse strip covers the gap between the two serpentine portions of roof. The single-board pediment back is fixed to the ceiling of the upper case with rosehead nails. The horizontal half-lapped backboards below are fixed with rosehead and other nails to rabbets in the upper-case sides. Atop each case side is a transverse block to which the single-piece crown molding is face-nailed to the two-piece scrollboard, which centers a fluted, paneled and molded plinth (and later finial) similarly attached. There are two thumb-molded false drawer fronts below, the upper one missing its central brass plate. Within the case are tip bars nailed to the ceiling at the case sides and one at the center line. Vertical dividers for the small drawers are set into grooves in the ceiling and scrollboard above and in the drawer divider below. The fronts of these dividers are held on with face-nailed sprigs. Transverse drawer supports are half-lapped to the upper drawer divider and to a longitudinal support at the case back. Drawer dividers faced with mahogany are set into grooves in the case sides (some are also toe-nailed), and align with drawer supports nailed to the case sides. The single-board upper-case bottom meets the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints having large thick-necked pins of varying sizes, reinforced by (later) nails, with half-pins in front and half-pins with rabbets in back. The lipped, thumb-molded, graduated and kerf-marked drawer fronts meet their nearly flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having thick-necked pins of varying configuration, with half-pins above and half-pins with deep rabbets below. The drawer bottoms are full-width; runners are applied to their undersides. The straight-skirted lower-case back meets its scallop-skirted single-piece case sides in dovetail joints having very large, very thick-necked pins of varying configuration, with a half-pin with rabbet above. Within the lower case a medial support for the upper case half-lapped to the top rail and a rear longitudinal rail also serves as a tip bar for the upper long drawer. Supports for the upper long drawer are half-lapped to the drawer divider in front and supported by blocks atop the rear legs in back. Supports for the flanking lower drawers are fixed with rosehead nails to the tops of the legs and with countersunk screws to the case sides. Drawer guides sit on top of these supports. Guides for the lower drawers are set into grooves in the backboard. Aligning with them and attached to them are vertical drawer dividers set into grooves in the skirt board. Supports for the central shallow drawer are fixed with rosehead nails to the inner faces of the guides; supports for the flanking deeper drawer are nailed to their outside faces. The central portion of the front skirt is separate from the deeper flanking portions, nailed into it from their outside edges. The detachable cabriole legs are each held into their corner of the case with countersunk screws. They are square-sectioned, with angular knees, ankles and calves, and feet in the form of stylized boots. The rear legs project beyond the plane of the backboard.

Bibliography

Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Silver, sale cat. (January 22, 2016), 33, lot 69, ill.
"The Connecticut Show," Maine Antique Digest (June 2019): 112, ill.
Frances McQueeney-Jones Mascolo, "The Connecticut Spring Show," Maine Antique Digest 47, no.6 (June 2019): 112, ill.