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From: Private collection
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High chest of drawers

Object number



Maker, attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


82 3/4 39 3/4 22 3/4 in. (210.185 100.965 57.785 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (drawer sides, drawer bottoms, some drawer supports, backboard upper case and bonnet, and bonnet cover); chestnut (core beneath the veneer at the front corners of the lower case); maple (backboard lower case, backing for the rails and muntins in the lower case, and some drawer supports); white pine (glue blocks on the legs, and board behind finial); yellow pine (drawer guides)


"Bot," in chalk, on underside of top board of lower case; "X," in graphite, on exterior backs and undersides of some drawers; "C," in graphite, on back of one drawer


Pierce Annesley Chamberlain, Jr., Princeton, New Jersey; consigned to Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, November 16–18, 1978, lot 1073; sold to Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; sold to a private collection, 1986

Associated names

Pierce Annesley Chamberlain, Jr.
Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc.
Sotheby Parke Bernet
Annesley Family


LOWER CASE: The one-piece backboard on the lower case is dovetailed to the case sides with half keys on the top and bottom and eleven full dovetails between them; at the lower edge of the backboard at the junction with the sides has an ogee shape. The central drawer supports for the small drawers are dovetailed to the skirt and tenoned into the back. The muntins fit into dovetail grooves in the drawer divider under the long drawer and are nailed with rosehead nails to the back of the skirt near the bottom edge. The drawer guides for the two deep drawers rest on the tops of the glue blocks for the front and back legs. The top of the lower case is one board. DRAWERS: Half keys at the top and bottom and full dovetails between them fasten the drawer fronts to the drawer sides. The drawer bottoms fit into grooves in the drawer fronts and are nailed to the underside of the sides and backs with sprigs; running strips are applied. The top edges of the drawers are rounded and flush with the drawer fronts; the back edges are flat with a chamfer along the back edge. UPPER CASE: Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides. The drawer supports are nailed with sprigs to the drawer guides. The quarter columns are fastened to the case sides with rosehead nails in countersunk holes. The small drawers have touch latches.


"Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 130, no. 3 (September 1986): 327, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 93, no. 9, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 9, 36, Detail, p. 36, fig. 1.19a, fig. 1.19.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, The American Heritage Auction of Americana, sale cat. (November 16–18, 1978), lot 1073, ill.