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Photo: Courtesy of Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Sharon, Mass.
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High chest of drawers

Object number



Maker Unknown


80 5/8 38 7/8 20 3/4 in. (204.8 98.7 52.7 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Walnut (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, upper case back board, bonnet boards); pine (lower case back board, some upper case drawer supports ); hard pine (some upper and lower case drawer supports and guides); maple (upper case top and bottom board, dust board, kick bars)




Illegible inscription, in chalk, on underside of top of upper case running from front to back


Descended in a California family; consigned to Michaan's Auctions, Alameda, California, February 9, 2019, lot 482; sold to Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Sharon, Massachusetts; sold to a private collection

Associated names

Michaan's Auctions
Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc.


The roof of the upper case consists of three boards?the larger, flanking boards are shaped to align with the serpentine pediment and backboard and are fixed to the tops of the backboard, scrollboard, and two-board case sides with rosehead nails. A central narrow transverse board at the apex of the pediment is laid over the flanking boards in the manner of a patch. The pediment backboard and two half-lapped backboards below are fixed with rosehead and other nails into rabbets in the case sides. The single-piece crown molding is fixed with wood-filled fasteners and face nails to the case sides and scrollboard and returns upon itself in front to frame a turned finial with corkscrew flame atop a plain support. The thumb-molded plaques are face-nailed to the scrollboard at their outer edges. The ends of the scrollboard are set into grooves in the case sides; on its proper right end it is face-nailed in the front and through the case side. The drawer dividers below meet the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints; the bottom rail sits in grooves. The vertical divider between the upper small drawers is half-blind dovetailed to the drawer divider below and half-lapped to the scrollboard above. It is also face-nailed through the bottom of the scrollboard. Within the case is a two-board ceiling, below which are tip bars fixed to the case sides with nail pockets. Behind the upper drawer divider is a dust board set into grooves in the case sides. Below are drawer supports fixed to the case sides with a variety of nails. The two-board upper-case bottom meets its case sides in half-blind dovetail joints having pins of widely varying size, configuration, and spacing. Several cut nails in its outside face join it to the case sides and bottom rail of the case above. A rabbeted waist molding is fixed to the case sides and bottom rail with wood-filled fasteners. The two small and three long thumb-molded, graduated, prominently kerf-marked drawer fronts meet their shorter, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having large, thick-necked pins of varying size, configuration and spacing, with half-pins above. The single-board bottoms are parallel to the front, and chamfered there and at the sides, where they are set into grooves. The drawer bottoms are fixed with a variety of nails to the backs. The two-board scallop-skirted lower-case sides are mortised and tenoned to the front and back single-piece leg/stiles. The single-board, straight-skirted lowercase back is similarly joined to the leg-stiles. The top rail meets the tops of the front leg-stiles in dovetail crossed-lap joints. The drawer divider below is tenoned and wood-pinned to the leg-stiles, as is the scalloped and shell-carved skirt board. The vertical stiles between the small drawers are half-blind dovetailed to the medial drawer divider above, and half-lapped as well as nailed to the skirt board. A tip bar on the proper left is nailed with brads to the case sides and half-lapped to the rail. The proper right tip bar, also nailed to the case side, appears to be an old replacement. Below, each long-drawer support is tenoned into the drawer divider in front, nailed to the leg-stiles in back, and has a glued-on drawer guide on top. Transverse drawer guides are set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped and nailed to the vertical rails in front. Small-drawer supports are set into grooves in the backboard and half-lapped and nailed to the skirtboard in front. The lower-case drawers are constructed similarly to those above but for their bottoms, which are perpendicular to the fronts (where they are nailed into rabbets) and full-width (nailed directly to the bottoms of the drawer?sides and backs). Some joints? tails are reinforced with brads and other nails. The front leg/stiles and front faces of the rear legs have knee brackets held on with brads and glue. The cabriole legs have rounded knees, ankles and heels, full-disk shod pad feet, and angular inside corners. The knees of the rear legs project beyond the plane of the lower-case back. Examined by P.E. Kane, May 21, 2019; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


"Across the Block," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (March 1, 2019): 30, ill.
"Michaan's Auctions," (accessed May 17, 2019), lot 482.