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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Furniture Archive
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Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker, attributed to Daniel Spencer, 1741–1796


33 40 3/4 21 in. (83.82 103.51 53.34 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (drawer stops, blocks behind quarter columns, backing for drawer dividers, and cross braces under top); pine (drawer linings, glue blocks under top, case back, drawer supports, drawer guides, and rear brackets on back feet)




"A," in chalk, at top of block behind quarter column on proper right; "A," in chalk, on end of proper right cross batten under top;"B," in chalk, at top of block behind quarter column on proper left; "B," in chalk, on end of proper left cross batten under top; "J" or "1," in script in chalk, at interior front corners of drawer sides; "B," "C," and "D," in chalk, at center of interior drawer backs


Private collection, 2011


The single-board top is molded at the front and sides, below which is a beaded cove molding. The top is secured to the case by means of rosehead nails nailed through two longitudinal braces and through a medial transverse brace and by multiple rectangular horizontal glue blocks. Each case side consists of a single board. The two horizontal boards which make up the case back are half-lapped together and secured to rabbets in the case sides, to the brace beneath the top and to the bottom board with rosehead nails. Within the case the backboards? interior surfaces bear extensive vertical saw marks. Each drawer has drawer supports fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails. Atop the drawer supports are drawer guides which occupy the voids created by the quarter columns. In the rear corners of the case are vertical drawer stops, set in grooves in the rear horizontal cleat beneath the top. There are three horizontal rectangular glue blocks behind the top and bottom rails. The front corners of the case are occupied by stop-fluted quarter columns. Each capital contains a single brad. The joints between the top and bottom rails and their stiles are concealed. The drawer dividers and flanking stiles have solid cockbeading. The drawer dividers join the case in half-blind dovetails. The plain drawer fronts are secured to their drawer sides with dovetail joints, having pins of slightly varying configurations, with half-pins above and below. The drawer sides have flat tops flush with the drawer front tops. Drawer fronts bear prominent kerf marks, drawer sides prominent scribe lines. The single-board drawer bottoms have prominent vertical saw marks, are perpendicular to their fronts, and are chamfered at the front, where they fit into grooves (reinforced by a glue block), and at the sides, where they have applied runners. There are vertical strips glued to the outside ends of the drawer backs. The drawer bottoms are fixed to the drawer backs with rosehead nails. The molded base is secured to the case with brads and wood pins. The single-board case bottom is dovetailed to the case sides. In the center front portion of the case bottom is a single brad. The front feet consist of vertical chamfered blocks, to which carved glue blocks are attached, each side faced with ogee brackets. The rear feet consist of vertical rectangular blocks to which carved glue blocks are attached, with ogee bracket faces at the sides and simple curving brackets at the rear, let into grooves in the ogee brackets. Examined by P.E. Kane, and W.S. Braznell, June 22, 2011; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


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), 313n5.