FINE AMERICAN FEDERAL MINIATURE MAHOGANY CHEST OF DRAWERS
New York or possibly New Jersey, c. 1800-1815
Item # 1402XIP15PS
An exceptional specimen, this well preserved work was likely crafted as a salesman's sample to assist in selling larger forms of the same chest. It was crafted with utmost care and attention to detail, allowing potential customers to see exactly what level of craftsmanship they could expect in a full size chest of drawers. The top is a beautiful show of straight grains framed in a double-bead of stringer inlay in the New York manner (see Montgomery, p. 31), this affixed to the case with screws through cross braces both fore and aft of the case, these presumably sliding into the sides with small dovetails. The interior is simple and clean, each drawer blade backed by white pine core and a pair of flanking runners resting in grooves on either side.
Each drawer of this American Federal Miniature Chest of Drawers is perfectly cut with neat and clean dovetailing, the bottom boards very lightly chamfered along the edges and set in the sides above the thin runner, the backs tacked with two to three iron brads. The little brass knobs on each drawer are period but are not original, the light impressions of early brass knobs still evident on the facade, though the replacement was very respectful of the case and utilized the original holes. Each drawer is edged in a bright stringer inlay. The back is a single plank of white pine that has split from shrinkage over the years, the edges nailed with large square forged iron nails in even rows, each untouched.
The whole of the form rests over refined and boldly splayed French feet flanking the hollowed-serpentine skirt. This skirt is very distinctive, most often identified with works of the Allison brothers in New York, though it is impossible to suggest an attribution off of this detail. Several interesting examples of identical skirt and foot design are noted below, all with New York (two with possible New Jersey) origin. The feet are untouched and fully original.
For serious and discerning collectors of American Federal antiques and arts, this is a very fine quite rare investment grade selection.
- American Furniture: The Federal Period, 1788-1825, Charles F. Montgomery; p. 440-43 (wardrobe c. 1800-15, New York, Michael Allison), p. 432-33 (two tea caddies, c. 1795-1815, New York or New Jersey, both noted as similar to the work of Michael Allison and Matthew Egerton)
- New York Furniture: The Federal Period, 1788-1825, John L. Scherer, New York State Museum; p. 12 (chest c. 1812, New York City, Richard Allison), p. 14 (chest c. 1807, Coxsackie, New York, J. B. Sylvester)
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art, acc. no. 32.55.3 (identical skirt, also by Michael Allison of New York c. 1800-10)
- Boscobel, museum purchase, acc. no. 1976 (F 76.28)
Materials: mahogany and mahogany veneers for primary surfaces; light toned stringer inlay, possibly satinwood; eastern white pine secondaries (backboards, underside, interior and all drawer secondaries); original square forged nails affixing back boards
Measurements: 15 7/8" wide x 7 3/8" deep (at feet) x 16 1/4" high
Old refinish, surface remaining in excellent condition; tip of front left foot patched; feet are original with untouched blocking; brass knobs are replacements using the same holes; a few drawer stops replaced.