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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Furniture Archive, Preservation Society of Newport County, 1760
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Dressing table

Object number



Maker Unknown


31 3/4 35 1/2 20 in. (80.65 90.17 50.8 cm)



Current location

Preservation Society of Newport County


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


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, back boards, drawer supports, original glue blocks, backing for horizontal drawer divider, top rail, and vertical blocks on back of shell panel); pine (bottom of long drawer and runners for long drawer)






Dietrich Americana Foundation, Philadelphia. The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island

Associated names

Dietrich American Foundation


The rectangular oblong single-board top is molded on its front and side edges, where it is supported by a beaded cove molding. The overhanging back edge is square and the cove molding does not return on itself. The top is secured to the case by screwpockets in a longitudinal batten just behind the top rail, and by small horizontal rectangular glue blocks at the joints between the top and the case sides and back. The two-board, elaborately scallop-skirted backboard meets the scallop-skirted sides in dovetail joints having very thick-necked pins with small half-pins above and below. There are two narrow vertical wood strips, set into channels laid out with scribe lines, in the inside face of the backboard, possibly to hold its two boards together. Supports for the upper drawer are set into the back and front of the case, with guides on top of them. Each small drawer has a three-part support (the flanking parts possibly later) set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped and nailed to the scrolling and shell-carved skirtboard. The proper right support has a supporting block below it at the skirtboard. Small-drawer guides are set into grooves in the backboard and tenoned into vertical blocks which fit into grooves in the skirtboard, where they are nailed and blocked. Each vertical block has a trapezoidal glue block beside it, just below the small-drawer opening. The lipped, thumb-molded top drawer front has long kerf marks and meets its slightly shorter round-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having thick-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The two-board bottom is parallel to the front and chamfered to fit into the groove. The bottom is nailed with brads into the drawer sides through full-depth runners. Another pair of runners alongside is also nailed with brads. The small-drawer fronts also have long kerf marks and have slightly smaller thick-necked dovetails, and single-board perpendicular bottoms set into rabbets and nailed with brads to the elements above. The inside edge of the small-drawer backs is square; the outside edge is rounded. Variations in color and finish on the inside face of the skirtboard and cracks on the outside face indicate possible old repairs to its central, shell-carved portion. The drawer divider facing above the shell is continuous from stile to stile. The legs are of the ?detachable? sort, held in with vertical chamfered glueblocks, some replaced. The front legs are square-sectioned, with angular knees and ankles, and finely carved claws with undercut talons holding elongated ball-feet. The back legs have angular knees which project beyond the backboard, rounded ankles and shod pad feet with incised heels. Knee brackets are held on with glue and nails. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, September 16, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.