AMERICAN QUEEN ANNE CURLY MAPLE HIGHBOY CHEST OF DRAWERS
New England circa 1760-1780
Item # 801KJG27F
This superb New England highboy is crafted out of a powerful curly maple hardwood which lends gorgeous grain striations across the graduated drawers. There is always an interesting progression in the furniture design that ranges from the utilitarian to the heights of fine sculptural arts - the present example soars above its peers in proportion, material selection, quality of craftsmanship and overall execution. Furthermore, it remains in nearly untouched original condition, other than the finish having been refreshed perhaps more than a century ago. The crisp dovetailing of the drawers has resulted in a firm and perfect joinery, each flowing in and out of the case easily; the drawers are crafted of pine, the bottom board a deeply chamfered single plank set in grooves on the sides and nailed with iron brads along the back edge. The dividing drawer blades through-dovetail into the sides of the case. Each retains the original batwing brasses, some bail pulls replaced. A deep cornice is beautifully formed and projects over the case to a depth and width nearly identical of the feet. The lowest drawer is highlighted with a crisp and fully developed fan-carving, these drawers divided by vertical blades that dovetail into the body of the case. A nearly identical example is catalogued in Albert Sacks earlier edition: Fine Points of Furniture, where it is simply catalogued as being a New England work and an interesting example with nearly identical skirting and scrolled knee returns is captured in Nutting’s Furniture Treasury (see below). These bold returns are delicate and curl beautifully, each being original and nearly black on the back from oxidization. The case rests over cabriole legs terminating in a scooped pad foot with a bevelled edge. The integral apron scalloping have never had finials.
An exceptional piece for the passionate connoisseur of very fine Americana, it is a powerful statement and a true work of art.
- See Fine Points of Furniture: Early American, Albert Sack, p. 180 for a nearly identical example noted by Sack as “Best”
- See Furniture Treasury, Wallace Nutting, Vol I & II, 1928, f. 355 for a highboy with nearly identical skirting and knee returns with the same through-dovetail of the drawer blades also in a curly maple
Measurements: 20 3/4” D x 40 1/4” H x 39 1/2” W [upper]; 21 1/4” D x 35 1/2” H x 40 3/4” W [lower]; total height 74 5/8"
Original locks (no key) and escutcheons, one with some loss; a few replaced bail pulls; untouched originality in structure throughout. Finish is old and very handsome, not original, but quite early with nearly black oxidization in some areas. Minor age appropriate wear/scuffs as expected, including to the back of the waist molding. Proper left rear foot with restorations to the pad. Original backboards secured with a few of the original brads supplemented by modern nails.