image of object
Photo: Courtesy private collection
Click the image to enlarge

High chest of drawers


Object number

RIF384

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

85 40 21 3/4 in. (215.9 101.6 55.25 cm)

Date

1765–95

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (drawer sides and backs, backing of vertical drawer dividers, and bonnet top); chestnut (drawer bottoms, backboards of upper and lower cases, bottom board of upper case, bonnet dust board, backings of horizontal drawer dividers, drawer supports, vertical brace at back of upper case, long blocks on underside of upper case, and front batten of lower case); pine (glue blocks of legs); maple (backing of skirt)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Upper case: “1,” in chalk, on interior back and interior front corners of upper proper-right drawer; “1” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on exterior bottom of upper proper-right drawer; “2,” in chalk, on interior back and interior front corners of upper proper-left drawer; “2” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on exterior bottom of upper proper-left drawer; “3,” in chalk, on interior back and interior front corners of upper long drawer; “3” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on exterior bottom of upper long drawer; “4,” in chalk, on interior back and interior front corners of middle long drawer; “4” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on exterior bottom of middle long drawer; “5,” in chalk, on interior back and interior front corners of lower long drawer; “5” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on exterior bottom of lower long drawer; “1” through “5” [later?], in carpenter’s crayon?, on upper surfaces of drawer dividers and case bottom [numbers correspond to crayon numbers of drawers supported]; Lower case: “1,” in chalk on interior back and interior front corners of upper drawer; “1[?],” in chalk, in one interior corner of proper-right lower drawer; illegible inscription, in red chalk, on exterior proper-right side of proper-right lower drawer; “^,” in chalk, on interior backboard

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

Jean Terry Bauder. Private collection, 1982

Associated names

Jean Terry Bauder

Construction

The upper-case roof consists of two boards, each shaped to align with the serpentine pediment and fixed with rosehead nails to the tops of the single-board case sides, the pediment scrollboard and the backboard and to blocking behind the crown molding?s upper transverse returns. The single-board pediment backboard, cut out to mimic the scrollboard, is fixed to the upper-case ceiling with large rectilinear glue blocks. There is a later filler strip between the horizontal backboards below which are chamfered at their lateral edges and fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the upper-case ceiling and the case sides, and directly to the upper-case bottom and a vertical batten within the upper case. The single-piece crown molding is fixed from within the open pediment to the scrollboard and the case sides and toe-nailed from above to its upper transverse returns. The scrollboard is set into grooves in the top of the the case; these joints are reinforced with face-nailed brads. Large rectangular horizontal glue blocks attach it to the upper-case ceiling. The scrollboard?s thumb-molded plaques are attached by invisible means. Its segmental cutouts center a plain plinth with a vertical block behind it supporting a simple cap into which is doweled a later turned finial. At the joint between the bottom of the upper-case ceiling and the scrollboard are several large rectangular horizontal glue blocks. The single-board case bottom meets the case sides in dovetail joints with thick-necked pins. Three nails in the front join it to the bottom rail, and two rectangular blocks, which serve to lock the upper case behind the top rail of the lower case, are fixed with rosehead nails. A single-piece rabbeted waist molding is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to the case sides and bottom rail. A vertical divider between the upper drawers is half-lapped to the bottom of the scrollboard and set into a groove in the drawer divider below. A small-drawer support is half-lapped to the upper drawer divider and to a longitudinal drawer support at the back of the case which is set into grooves in the case sides. A vertical batten, nailed from outside the case back, is set into a groove in this longitudinal support and tenoned into the rear of the upper-case bottom. Tip bars are glued into the top of the case, and drawer dividers, backed up by drawer supports fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails, are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. Behind the bottom rail, which is set into grooves in the case sides, are two triangular longitudinal glue blocks. The two small and three long lipped, thumb-molded, kerf-marked and graduated drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter, arch-topped, scribe-lined sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The full-width single-board drawer bottoms are parallel to the front and chamfered there and at the sides, they are set into grooves in the front and sides, and fitted with runners held on with nails. The bottoms are nailed with brads to their flat-topped drawer backs. The smaller, upper drawers were once fitted with touch-latch boards. The single-board straight-skirted lower-case back meets the single-board, scallop-skirted case sides in dovetail joints having pins which decrease in size from top to bottom. A transverse rail is half-blind dovetailed to the front of the top of each lower-case side in front. A rabbeted mahogany face strip is glued to the front of this rail. Below this strip is a rectangular veneer, below that another rabbeted mahogany strip on the face of the horizontal drawer divider, and below that the end of the skirt board, which presumably meets the case side in a blind dovetail joint. Supports for the long upper drawer are half-lapped to the drawer divider and set into grooves in the backboard. Supports for the smaller lower drawers are half-lapped to the top of the scalloped, shell-carved skirtboard and set into grooves in the backboard. Lateral small-drawer guides are nailed with brads to the case sides. Interior small-drawer guides are tenoned into the backs of the vertical drawer dividers and set into grooves in the backboard. The tops of vertical dividers are set into grooves in the horizontal drawer divider, and their bottoms are further secured by vertical rectangular glue blocks with shaped bottoms. A scallop-skirted board behind the central shell carving is nailed to the skirtboard with brads. There are vertical rectangular blocks at each front corner of the lower case. The legs are of the ?detachable? sort, held into the corners in part by vertical rectangular glue blocks with carved or chamfered bottoms. The blocks at the inside corners of the rear legs have square bottoms. The knee brackets are secured by glue and brads. The cabriole legs are square at the knees, with rounded slipper feet and ankles. The lower-case small drawers are constructed similarly to the upper-case drawers, except in the case of their bottoms, which are flat and perpendicular to the fronts; they are nailed into rabbets in the fronts and directly to the drawer sides and backs with brads. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 6, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.