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High Chest of Drawers


Object number

RIF6541

Maker

Maker Unknown
Maker, formerly attributed to Samuel Clement

Dimensions

65 3/4 42 22 1/2 in. (167 106.7 57.2 cm)

Date

1710–30

Current location

Private collection

Geography

Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island, or possibly made in New York
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Walnut and maple (primary); yellow poplar (drawer linings, back boards in upper case, dust boards upper case, and top of lower case); pine (vertical partitions, drawer supports, drawer dividers, top and bottom upper case, and back board lower case); and oak (blocks at top of legs)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"V" pointing upward and enclosing "|," incised, on interior front and back of proper right small drawer in upper case and proper right deep drawer in lower case and on drawer divider in upper case below proper right small drawer; "V" pointing upward and enclosing "||," incised, on interior front and back of proper left small drawer in upper case; "V" enclosing "|," in chalk, on underside of lower drawer in upper case pointing toward drawer front; "V" enclosing "||," in chalk, on underside of middle drawer in upper case pointing toward drawer front; "V," in chalk, pointing frontward on top, second, and third drawer dividers in upper case, and at the top on both interior and exterior back board on lower case; "V," incised, on interior back of middle drawer in upper case and on interior back of center drawer in lower case; illegible graphite on exterior back proper right small drawer in upper case; "X," incised, on interior of proper left side of lower case and "X" intersecting "V," incised, at the same location; mathematical calculations, in chalk, on exterior back, center drawer, lower case; overlapping scrollwork and other illegible chalk on underside of upper case

Style

William and Mary

Provenance

John W. Walton, Inc., New York; sold to Isobel Hinckley Glover (1932 - 2017) and Price Perkins Glover (1918 - 2001), New York; consigned by their estates to Sotheby's, New York, January 18–21, 2018, lot 597; sold to a private collection

Associated names

John S. Walton, Inc.
Isobel Hinckley Glover
Price Perkins Glover
Sotheby's

Construction

The single-boards top of the upper case meets the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. A portion of the divider between the two upper drawers is tenoned through the top of the case, and also through the drawer divider below. The case sides? vertical veneer panels fit into rabbets in the back edge of the case sides. A single-piece crown molding is face-nailed to the case sides and to a top rail concealed by the molding itself. The lower, half-round portion of the crown is continuous with the face-nailed cockbeading at the front. The three horizontal, half-lapped boards of the case back are fixed with an assortment of nails into rabbets in the case sides and the two-board case bottom. The joints between the case bottom and sides are obscured by narrow full-depth, lateral blocking fixed with later, countersunk screws to the two-board case bottom and mitered at the front to a similar longitudinal block. A single-piece molding is face-nailed to these blocks. There are narrow vertical boards at the front and rear of the case side which comprise the structural corners of the upper case. Their exterior faces are veneered. Within the case horizontal battens are dovetailed into these boards. Drawer supports, tenoned into double-beaded drawer dividers, are set into grooves in them. The double-beading is applied with face-nailed brads and wood-filled fasteners. The dustboard below the two small upper drawers is full-depth. The two upper drawer fronts meet their nearly flush, arched-top drawer sides in dovetail joints having large, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The two-board bottoms are parallel to the fronts, where they are fixed with brads into rabbets. The bottoms are flat and full-width, with applied runners, and are fixed with brads to the flat-topped drawer backs. The long drawers are similarly constructed, except for their dovetail joints, which have large, thick-necked pins. The single-board, straight-skirted lower-case back meets its two-board, double-serpentine-skirted case sides in dovetail joints having large, very thick-necked pins of widely varying sizes. The thickness of the case sides? vertical veneer is visible between the upper half-pins and the two-part waist moldings. The case-sides? serpentine skirts? edge banding is applied with rosehead nails. The case top consists of two longitudinal boards enclosed by a three-sided frame; the longitudinal boards are nailed with brads into rabbets in this frame. The upper part of the waist molding is face-nailed to the frame with brads. The lower-case sides are joined to the case front by invisible means, as is the case front to the case sides. The various segments of the edge-banded, serpentine, and arch-skirted lower-case front are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to each other. Double half-round cockbeading is fixed to the case front with brads and wood-filled fasteners. In each corner of the lower case is glued a small vertical block, into the bottom of which is doweled a vase, inverted-urn, and ring-turned leg. Fixed to the top of these blocks are lateral supports for flanking lower small drawers; at the end of each support is a rectilinear stop. Drawer guides are glued to the inside of the case sides. Aligned with the outer supports (laid out with scribe lines) are medial supports set into grooves in the backboard and in the front?s vertical stiles, meeting the back of the skirt board in half-blind dovetail joints. The medial supports also have rectilinear stops at the backboard. Beneath these medial supports are vertical blocks, fixed to the skirt board with countersunk fasteners, into which the medial front legs are doweled. Supports for the shallow outer drawer are similarly attached to the case back and skirt board and fixed to the front uprights between the drawers with brads. These uprights are set into grooves in the top rail and nailed with brads to the skirt board. These supports also have, nailed to their outer edges with brads, vertically arranged drawer guides. Inside each front corner is a vertical block fixed to the case side with countersunk screws. The lower-case drawers are constructed similarly to the upper drawers, but have single-board bottoms fixed with rosehead nails to their drawer backs. The flat, serpentine stretchers are half-lapped together at each corner; the incurvate central section of the front stretcher is tenoned and double-wood-pinned to its flanking double-serpentine sections. The turned feet, separate from the legs, are doweled into the stretchers. Examined by P.E. Kane, August 17, 2018; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, sale cat. (January 18–21, 2018), 228–29, lot 597, ill.
Lita Solis-Cohen, "Americana at Sotheby's," Maine Antique Digest (March 2018): 16-E, ill.