AMERICAN CHIPPENDALE REVERSE-SERPENTINE CHEST OF DRAWERS
Eastern Massachusetts, c. 1770-90
Item # 503JRB12X
A rather striking chest of drawers, the oxbow is a particularly difficult form to master and added significant cost for clients requesting this kind of case during the period. The top projects with a distinct boldness over the sides and front of the case, this two-board piece handsomely molded of the solid around all three edges, sliding onto the sides of the case on dovetails to allow the top to easily shrink and expand without structural stress. All primary surfaces are crafted of a dense and well-figured birch. The drawers are graduated and all retain their original bail pull brasses and stamped brass keyhole escutcheons.
The interiors of the top and third drawers retain their original wrought iron locks with the original rosehead nails affixing them to the interior. All secondary woods are white pine, the drawers with large and precisely cut hand dovetails graduating in reverse with the largest dovetail at the top and successively smaller to the half-lapped bottom dovetail. The bottom is deeply chamfered and set in grooves along the sides and front edge, tacked along the back edge of the drawer with four wrought nails.
The drawers project slightly from the case due to the shrinking that has occurred to the sides of the case - as a result, the glue block drawer stops at the back have slowly moved forward. We can adjust this upon request.
The drawer blades are presumably joined into the case on small dovetail slots beneath the applied molded strips on either side of the case. The thin beading along the drawer blades and sides simulate cockbead molding, nicely framing the outline of the each drawer. The sides of the case dovetail into the bottom, a single solid plank of pine. Resting over shapely scroll cut bracket feet with a spurred return, the base conforms to the oxbow form of the case with thick birch affixed to the pine core behind it with a large dovetail behind the center tear-drop finial. The feet are particularly fragile and have seen horizontal cracking over the years - as a result, several facings have partial replacements. These are rather old and have oxidized nicely.
Measurements: 21 15/16" D x 42" W x 32" H
Refinished. 3 foot facings with spliced restoration, old cracks to feet, one spur patched; back right foot triangular support possibly replaced. 2nd drawer missing lock, no key. Drawers projecting slightly from shrinkage. Top with old staining and discoloration. Small shrinkage cracks on both sides of case.