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Chest-on-chest


Object number

RIF6050

Maker

Maker, attributed to Ichabod Cole, 1748?1841

Dimensions

87 3/4 42 1/4 21 3/4 in. (222.89 107.32 55.25 cm)

Date

1770–1800

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, some drawer supports, backing of one drawer divider, battens under top of upper case, and backboards of upper and lower cases); pine (backing of drawer dividers, some drawer supports, backing of quarter columns, pediment top, bottom board of upper case, top of lower case, and glue blocks on feet)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Upper case, top proper-right drawer: “O” [later?], in graphite, on exterior back and bottom and interior drawer front; “IV,” incised on upper front corner of proper-left drawer side; “VI,” incised on upper front corner of proper-right drawer side; “i,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “B[?],” in chalk, on exterior drawer back; “2” [within circle, later], in graphite, on interior drawer bottom. Upper case, top proper-left drawer: “IV,” incised on upper front corner of proper-left drawer side; “VI,” incised on upper front corner of proper-right drawer side; “ii,” incised on interior drawer back; “X” [later?], in graphite, on exterior drawer back and bottom; “1” [within circle, later], in graphite, on interior drawer bottom. Upper case, upper long drawer: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “iiii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “/X” and “X” [later?], in graphite, on interior drawer front; “6” [later], in graphite, on exterior drawer back, sides, and bottom. Upper case, second long drawer from top: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “iii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “/X,” “/,” “X” [later?], in graphite, interior drawer front; “/” [later?], exterior drawer sides and back. Upper case, third long drawer from top: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “ii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “2” [later], exterior drawer back and sides; “O” [later], on interior drawer front; “C” [later?], in graphite, on exterior drawer bottom. Upper case, lower long drawer: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “i,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “7 [later],” in graphite, on exterior drawer sides, back, and bottom; “X” [multiple, later], in graphite, on interior drawer front. Upper case: “/,” in graphite, on underside of upper drawer divider of upper case; “////,” in graphite, on underside of second drawer divider from top of upper case; “//,” in graphite, on underside of third drawer divider from top of upper case; “///,” in graphite, on underside of lower drawer divider from top of upper case; “X,” incised on exterior back of upper case; "T. G. BUCKLEY / 690 DUDLEY ST., BOSTON, M[ASS.] / 19631 / PIECE / NO 40," printed in black ink, on label affixed to exterior back of upper case. Lower case, upper drawer: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “iiii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “3” [within circle, later], in graphite, on interior drawer bottom; “4” [later], on exterior drawer sides and back; "(617) 592-5262 / Restored By / ATTWILL FURNITURE CO. / RONALD M. TRAPASSO / LYNN, MASS. Date 1/17/86," printed in red [date written in blue ink] on white label, affixed to interior proper-left drawer side. Lower case, second drawer from top: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “iii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “X” [multiple, later], in graphite, on interior drawer front; “5” [later], in graphite, on exterior drawer sides, back, and bottom. Lower case, third drawer from top: “V,” incised on upper front corners of drawer sides; “ii,” incised on interior drawer front and back; “3” [later], in graphite, on exterior drawer sides, back, and bottom and interior drawer front. Lower case, bottom drawer: “V,” in chalk, and “^,” in graphite, on exterior drawer bottom; “8” [later], in graphite, on exterior drawer bottom; “///” [later], in graphite, on interior drawer. Lower case: “/,” “//,” “///” [from top to bottom], in graphite, on underside of drawer dividers of lower case; “Repaired / By RONALD / TRAPASSO / 1986,” on underside of lower drawer divider of lower case; “X,” incised on lower center of exterior back

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Private collection, 1977

Construction

The roof of the upper section consists of multiple boards aligned with the closed double-serpentine pediment and nailed to the tops of the scrollboard and the upper backboard, which aligns with the pediment and is fixed with a rosehead nail to blocking within the upper case and into rabbets in the case sides. Three half-lapped horizontal back-boards below are similarly nailed to the case sides. The end of a horizontally arranged transverse batten is visible through the back boards near the middle of the case, at the bottom of the upper, arched case-back board. The thumb-molded scrollboard panels are nailed through blocking within the pediment. Below the blocking is a transverse batten above the upper drawer. There is a similar transverse batten at the back of the case. Nailed into the interior front corner posts are modern vertical chamfered glue blocks and transverse strips to keep the upper drawer from tipping forward. In the center of outside front of the closed bonnet is an urnform finial with corkscrew flame. Similar finials on simple rectangular plinths occupy the outside front corner of the upper case. Within the upper case is a transverse drawer support, half-lapped to the upper drawer divider and set into a rectangular opening in the upper backboard. The drawers have full-depth supports, nailed with brads to the single-board case sides, and notched at the rear. On top of the supports are full-depth drawer guides, glued into place. The vertical upright between the small drawers meets the top rail above and the drawer divider below in blind joints and is tenoned through the drawer divider below. The drawer dividers meet the stiles beside the quarter columns in half-blind, half-dovetail joints. The front corners consist of turned capitals and bases separated from fluted quarter columns by oversized rectangular blocks. The bottom of the upper case consists of two horizontal boards ? one broad, in front; one narrow, in back ? half-blind dovetailed to the case sides, with half-pins in front and in back. The dovetail pins decrease in size from front to back. There is a single brad in the front of the forward upper-case bottom board fixing it to the bottom rail above. In the front edge of the upper-case bottom board, below the bottom rail, are three rosehead nails. The lipped, thumb-molded, and graduated kerf-marked, upper-case drawer-fronts meet their slightly shorter, rounded-top, full-depth sides in dovetail joints, having thick-necked pins of varying configurations, with half-pins above and below. The single-board drawer bottoms, parallel to the fronts, are chamfered at the front and at the sides, where they fit into grooves in the elements above. Some drawers now have runners attached with brads to the bottoms of the drawer sides. The drawer bottoms are fixed with rosehead nails to the flat-topped drawer backs. At the drawers? rear corners, the drawer sides? tails extend beyond the faces of the drawer backs. In the lower case, the method of attachment of top to sides is concealed by a single-piece molding fixed to the case bottom with wood-filled fasteners. The lower-case back consists of three half-lapped horizontal boards fixed with brads and rosehead nails into rabbets in the case sides, and with brads directly to the case bottom. The lower-case drawers, case sides and quarter columns are configured similarly to those in the upper case. The lower-case bottom consists of two horizontal boards ? one broad, in front; one narrow, in back ? half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The feet are short, thick cabriole legs with somewhat roughly carved claw-and-ball feet. Some have undercut talons; some have extensive repairs. The back and inside faces of the proper right rear foot are uncarved. Behind each leg, fixed with rosehead nails to the case bottom, are diagonally arranged blocks. Behind the knee brackets at either side of the front legs and at the outside face of the rear legs are horizontal chamfered glue blocks. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, March 6, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

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), 371n1.