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Photo: Courtesy Joseph Kabe Estate Auction, Milford, Conn.
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High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF4776

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

81 40 1/2 21 in. (205.74 102.87 53.34 cm)

Date

1750–1800

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (drawer linings, vertical brace at back of upper case, backs of upper two drawer dividers of upper case, vertical divider of upper case, back boards of upper case, horizontal support for small drawers of upper case, kick bars for upper drawers of upper case, central guide for small drawers of upper case, backings of drawer dividers of lower case, most drawer supports and guides of lower case, block at top of proper-left stile, and blocks of rear legs [except proper-left front block]); chestnut (bottom and top of upper case, center block behind lower front rail of upper case, back of divider under middle drawer of upper case, blocks on either side of vertical divider of upper case, blocks at interior top rail of upper case, proper-right vertical divider of lower case, backboards of lower case, blocks at proper-left front of lower case, proper-left support for upper drawer of lower case, backing of front rail of lower case, blocks of vertical dividers of lower case, blocks of front legs, front stiles of lower case, block at top of proper-right stile, and front block of proper-left rear leg); yellow poplar (outside blocks at interior lower front rail of upper case, center support for upper drawers, drawer supports for upper case, back board of hood , and top boards of hood); maple (vertical divider of upper case and proper-left vertical divider of lower case)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“I,” in chalk, on interior sides [at front] and some interior bottoms of drawers of upper case; “1,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-right upper drawer; “2,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-left upper drawer; “2 [twice],” in chalk, on interior bottom of proper-left upper drawer; “3,” in chalk, on interior bottom of top long drawer of upper case; “II,” in chalk, on interior proper-right side [at front] of top long drawer of upper case; “I,” in chalk, on interior sides [at front] of upper drawer of lower case; illegible chalk [“1”?], on interior back of proper-right lower drawer and on interior proper-left side [at front]; “2,” in chalk, on interior back and interior proper-right side [at front] of proper-left lower drawer; “I,” in chalk, on interior sides [at front] of middle lower drawer

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

By descent in the Pease family, Rhode Island. Joseph Kabe Estate Auction, Milford, Connecticut, March 20, 2010

Associated names

Pease family of Rhode Island
Joseph Kabe Estate Auction

Construction

Both sides of the upper case roof are a single board, bent to align with the serpentine-top backboard and front crown molding, to which they are attached with brads. The two-piece crown molding is nailed with brads to the two-board sides and continues into the open bonnet, where it contributes to a scalloped void at the pediment back. The pediment centers a molded and fluted plinth upon which sits a fluted spherical finial with corkscrew flame, The shaped scrollboard panels below are thumb-molded. The top board of the upper case is attached to the side boards with dovetails. The pediment backboard is fixed to the upper case top and rabbeted case sides with rosehead nails. The four horizontal backboards below are nailed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the upper case sides and are half-lapped to each other. The upper case bottom is a single board. Within the upper case are full-depth blocks preventing the upper drawers from tipping forward and four horizontal rectangular glue blocks at the joint between the top rail and the case top. A full-width drawer support for the upper small drawers spans the back. Half-lapped to it is a central drawer support. At the midpoint of the case back interior is a vertical cleat. The drawers have full-depth runners (one missing) attached to the case sides with rosehead nails. The top rail and drawer dividers below meet the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The stile between the two upper drawers exhibits a blind joint above and a half-blind dovetail joint below. The bottom rail is set into grooves in the case sides. The drawer fronts are lipped and thumb-molded. The single-board, straight-skirted lower case back is attached to the single-board scalloped-skirted lower case sides with dovetail joints, having half pins above and below. The mahogany- faced upper rail is half-lapped and nailed with a rosehead nail to the top of the case sides. Within the lower case are upper drawer supports, with chamfered-ended drawer guides glued to the tops, set into grooves in the side boards and half-lapped to the drawer dividers. The drawer divider between the upper and lower drawers is notched to receive the stiles between the small drawers (rounded off at their bottoms) to which it is also joined with countersunk rosehead nails. Guides between the small drawers are tenoned and pinned to the small drawer stiles, which are held in place in part by chamfered vertical glue blocks, rounded at the bottom. The small drawer supports are lapped into the skirt board, where they are further supported by small rectangular glue blocks. The cabriole legs are of the detachable sort, held in place in the corners of the lower case with rectangular, vertical glue blocks?some with shaped bottoms, some with drawer guides cut out to fit around them. The sharp-kneed legs project beyond the case back, ending in shod pad feet in the rear. The front legs have vigorously carved tendons and prominently knuckled claws (some missing) and undercut talons, clutching elongated ball feet. Examined by P.E. Kane, and B. Colman; March 2010; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

See also


Bibliography

"Goddard Townsend Highboy To Star at Joseph Kabe Sale," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (April 2, 2010): 36, ill.
"Goddard Townsend Highboy Tops Joseph Kabe Auction," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (April 16, 2010): 67, ill.
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), 204n4.