image of object
From: Private collection
Click the image to enlarge


Object number



Maker Unknown


86 3/4 41 1/2 21 3/4 in. (220.345 105.41 55.245 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (drawer linings, blocks for the feet, backing for drawer dividers and quarter columns, and drawer supports); chestnut (backboards)




"X 1," in graphite on one exterior drawer back over written with "2," in chalk; "XIIIII," incised, inside lower case back, proper right


John Brown (1736–1803), Providence, Rhode Island; by inheritance to his daughter, Sarah "Sally" Brown Herreshoff (1773–1846), Bristol, Rhode Island; by descent to her son, Charles Frederick Herreshoff III (1809–1888) and his wife, Julia Ann Lewis (1811–1901), Bristol, Rhode Island; by descent to their daughter, Caroline Louisa Herreshoff (1837–1924), Bristol, Rhode Island; by inheritance to her grandson, Westcote Herreshoff Chesebrough (1908–1979), Providence, Rhode Island, 1924; sold to John Nicholas Brown, Providence, Rhode Island, after 1950; given to The Nicholas Brown Foundation, Providence, Rhode Island; sold to a private collection, 1985

Associated names

John Brown
The Nicholas Brown Foundation
Sarah "Sally" Brown Herreshoff
Julia Ann Lewis Herreshoff
Charles Frederick Herreshoff III
Caroline Louisa Herreshoff III
John Nicholas Brown
Westcote Herreshoff Chesebrough


The serpentine-shaped open pediment is decorated by a crown molding, the lower portion of which frames two circular cutouts centering a molded, fluted plinth supporting a fluted urn-form finial with corkscrew flame, and is flanked by closed, molded platforms whose front corners contain fluted plinths (top- molded on the outside faces only) supporting similar finials. Underneath the small drawers is a full-depth dust board. Below are drawer supports set into grooves in the back boards and the single-board case sides. On top of the supports are nailed drawer guides, aligning with the quarter column assemblies at the front corners. The joint between the bottom rail and the hand planed single-board case bottom is reinforced by five horizontal rectangular glue blocks. The lower case front base molding is attached to the case bottom with a giant dovetail joint. The upper case drawer dividers are set in grooves in the case sides; the lower case drawer dividers join their case sides with half-blind dovetails. Within the lower case are drawer supports attached to the single-board case sides with rosehead nails. At the back of the interior case bottom is a full-width cleat, nailed to the single-board case bottom, over which the end of the lower drawer support is lapped. The upper case contains three small drawers (the center one carved with a shell with incised edge) over four graduated thumb-molded long drawers, flanked by fluted quarter columns, having turned bases and capitals. The lower case contains three block-fronted thumb-molded long drawers, the upper carved concavely with a central shell with incised edge, flanked by convexly carved shells within half-round concave reserves. The lower drawer fronts join their flat-topped, flush, full-depth drawer sides in dovetail joints, having thin-necked pins with half-pins above and a reinforcing nail in each tail. The top and bottom rails fit into grooves in the case sides; the intermediate drawer dividers join the case sides with half-blind dovetails. The front faces of the front ogee bracket feet are convex-blocked and volute-carved; the sides are plain. Behind the front brackets are full-height blocks flanked by shaped glue blocks with countersunk screws. The backs of the rear legs are serpentine brackets. Examined by P. E. Kane, September 7, 2003; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Wendy A. Cooper and Tara L. Gleason, "A Different Rhode Island Block-and-Shell Story: Providence Provenances and Pitch-Pediments," American Furniture (1999): 164, fig. 2.
Joseph K. Ott, "The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture," Antiques 87, no. 5 (May 1965): 569, fig. 15.
Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 84–85, no. 56.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 337–38, pl. 4, fig. 8.23–8.23 a–c.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963), no. 321, ill.
Luke Vincent Lockwood, Colonial Furniture in America, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926), vol. 1, pp. 120–121, fig. 119.
Edgar G. Miller, American Antique Furniture: A Book for Amateurs, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Press, 1937), vol. 1, pp. 484–85, no. 881.
Wendy A. Cooper, "The Kaufman Collection," Antiques 179, no. 3 (May–June 2012): 111, fig. 6.
Wendy A. Cooper, "The Installation of American Furniture from the Kaufman Collection at the National Gallery of Art," Antiques 131, no. 5 (May 1987): 1102, pl. 9, ill.
Clifford P. Monahon, "John Brown House Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture," Rhode Island History 24, no. 2 (April 1965): 36–38, ill.