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Chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


32 3/4 38 1/2 20 1/2 in. (83.19 97.79 52.07 cm)



Current location


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


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer bottoms and backs); basswood (drawer sides, drawer supports); pine (drawer dividers, bottom board, blocks on underside)




“A,” in graphite, interior back to top drawer; “B,” in graphite, interior back and exterior sides of second drawer from top; “C,” in graphite, interior back and exterior sides of third drawer from top; “D,” in graphite, interior back and exterior proper-left side of bottom drawer; “A” through “D,” in graphite, on drawer dividers (top to bottom); “Chest” and diagram of battens under top with "glue" between them, in chalk, on underside of bottom board


Constance Pember Godfrey (1929 - 2014) and Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr. (1926 - 2007), Milwaukee; Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation, Milwaukee; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 18–21, 2018, lot 800

Associated names

Constance Pember Godfrey
Dudley J. Godfrey, Jr.
Dudley and Constance Godfrey Foundation


The oblong, rectangular, single-board top slightly overhangs the back and is molded on its front and side edges; the top corner of its rear edge is beaded. A beaded cove molding, fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners, is flush with the top?s overhang in back. Under the top are two longitudinal battens ? one at the front and one at the back of the case ? dovetailed to the tops of the single-board case sides and glued and fixed with countersunk screws to the top?s underside. Tip bars and drawer supports are fixed, just shy of the case back, with rosehead nails to the case sides. There are five rectilinear horizontal glue block behind the top rail, and seven behind the bottom rail. The front end of the far proper right bottom-drawer runner is rabbeted to fit over a glue block. The top and bottom rails fit into grooves in the case sides; the drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The case back consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards fixed with a variety of nails to the bottom board and to rabbets in the case sides. The four lipped, thumb-molded, kerf-marked, graduated drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter, double-beaded, full-height drawer sides in dovetail joints having pins of widely varying configuration, with half-pins above. The single-board drawer bottoms parallel to the front, are chamfered there and at the front and sides, where they fit into grooves, and are nailed to the drawer backs, whose tops have rounded back edges at the corners. A single-piece base molding is fixed to the case sides and bottom rail with wood-filled fasteners. The single-board case bottom meets the case sides in dovetail joints having large, thick-necked pins. There is a single nail at the midpoint of the front of the case bottom fixing it to the bottom rail above. The feet consist of shaped horizontal blocks, mitered together and fixed to the case bottom. To the underside of this assembly is fixed a shaped vertical block, and the whole is faced with ogee brackets. The back faces of the rear feet are simple straight-profiled trapezoidal brackets set into grooves in the side-facing ogee brackets. The back-facing edge of the rear feet?s side-facing brackets have an ogee profile which projects beyond the plane of the case back and is accompanied by a similarly projecting block glued to the outside face of the rear trapezoidal bracket. Some elements of the feet have been replaced. Examined P.E. Kane, J.S. Gordon, J.N. Johnson, January 16, 2018; notes compiled by. T.B. Lloyd.


Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, sale cat. (January 18–21, 2018), vol. 2, p. 75, lot 800, ill.