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Photo: Courtesy Rhode Island Furniture Archive
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Chest of drawers


Object number

RIF6155

Maker

Maker Unknown

Date

1760–80

Current location

Private collection

Geography


(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Pine (backings of drawer supports, glue blocks at interior top of case, and glue blocks of feet); yellow poplar (drawer linings, drawer runners, and rear brackets); cherry (backing for concave blocking); chestnut (backboards)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“4 [or check mark] X ,” in graphite, on exterior back of upper drawer; “5XB,” in graphite, on exterior back of second drawer from top; “6BX,” in graphite, on exterior back of third drawer from top; “7BX,” in graphite, on exterior back of bottom drawer; “X,” incised on interior backboard; "A. G. BREITENSTEIN, / COLLECTOR AND REPAIRER OF / ANTIQUE FURNITURE / 74 N. MAIN ST., / OLD GORHAM BUILDING / PROVIDENCE, R.I. [surrounded by an undulating border]," printed in black ink on a white paper label glued to exterior upper backboard

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Jonathan Bradley (1744/5–1818) and Sally Bradley (née Ayer, 1755–1820), Andover, Massachusetts; by descent to their son Charles Bradley (1792–1874) and his wife, Sarah Bradley (née Smith), Portland, Maine; by descent to their son Charles Smith Bradley (1819–1888) and his wife, Sarah Bradley (née Manton, 1818–1854); by descent to their son Charles Bradley (1845–1898) and his wife, Jane Whitman Bradley (née Bailey, 1849–1937), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to their daughter Mary Emerson Bradley (1888–unknown) and her husband Emery Moulton Porter (1884–1957), Providence; by descent in the Bradley family. Private collection, 2014

Associated names

Lieutenant Jonathan Bradley
Charles Bradley
Honorable Charles Smith Bradley
Charles Bradley
Mary Emerson Bradley

Construction

The oblong, single-board top, molded on its straight sides and its blocked front, is secured to its conformingly shaped case by two screws in the underside of the top rail, and by half-dovetail continuous keyway joints with the tops of the case sides. There are rectangular horizontal glue blocks within the case at the joints between the top and sides. The top does not overhang the case back, which consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards nailed with an assortment of (mostly later) nails into rabbets in the top and sides and directly to the two-board case bottom?s back edge. The case bottom joins the sides in dovetail joints with thick-necked pins of widely varying configurations. The top and bottom rails are set into grooves in the case sides. The drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The dust boards are set into grooves in the case sides, later drawer supports are nailed to the sides, and some horizontal rectangular drawer stops nailed to the sides in the rear corners of the case remain. There is integral cock beading at the stiles, rails and drawer dividers. There are multiple horizontal rectangular glue blocks behind the bottom rail and supports for the lowest drawer at the joints between the case bottom and sides. The base molding is face-nailed with brads to the case sides and joined to the front of the case bottom in a large square dovetail joint. The alternately convex and concave-blocked drawer fronts are cut from the solid; the back side of each concave portion is reinforced with a separate board fixed with wood-filled fasteners. The kerf-marked fronts meet their nearly flush, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut, very narrow-necked pins with half-pins above. The multi-board drawer bottoms are perpendicular to the fronts where they are nailed with brads into rabbets. The bottoms are set into rabbets in the bottom of the full-height drawer sides; the joint between bottoms and sides is covered by multiple thin glue blocks and glued-on runners. The drawer bottoms are nailed into the bottom of the drawer backs with early and later brads; there are numerous empty nail holes. The front feet consist of shaped vertical blocks attached directly to the case bottom and flanked by shaped horizontal blocks, the whole faced with ogee bracket feet, the front faces blocked and scroll-carved. The rear feet are configured similarly, except for their back brackets, which are simple straight-profiled trapezoidal boards set into grooves in the side-facing brackets. Thin vertical blocks are nailed to the backs of the trapezoidal brackets, flush with the flat, back-facing edge of the side brackets. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, November 18, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


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), 455n4.