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Chest of Drawers

1971.646 (RS32434)

Description

Bow-front; scrolled bracket feet; apron has center inlaid tablet; birch veneered case encloses four equal sized drawers; each has beaded edge, three inlaid flaming birch rectangular panels, two oval brass handles and center ivory keyhole; conforming top has edge inlay.

Details

Label
"Cherished Possessions": At the beginning of the nineteenth century, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, cabinetmakers were producing some of the most ambitious furniture in the region. Many of these pieces were characterized by boldly contrasting and highly figured veneers, like the birch veneer used here. The rounded shape of the front of this chest, referred to today as a bow front and in period records as a round front, was part of the newly popular neoclassical style that began to be adopted in New England in the late eighteenth century.
Highlights of the furniture collection: The use of vibrantly figured veneers in bold geometric patterns is typical of Portsmouth furniture of the early years of the nineteenth century. The drop pendant is also characteristic. This is one of the most ornate surviving examples. It was purchased by James Rundlet, a wealthy merchant whose 1807 home survives with few changes and is one of Historic New England's most intact historic house museums.
Maker
unknown
Date
1805-15
Associated Building
Original to Rundlet-May House (Portsmouth, N.H.).
Material
birch (wood)
ivory (tooth component)
veneer
Object type
Furniture
Places
New Hampshire (United States)
Portsmouth (Rockingham county, New Hampshire)
Descriptive terms
Birch
case furniture
Chest Of Drawers
chests of drawers
Hepplewhite
Inlaid
ivory (tooth component)
Mahogany
Possibly birch (wood)
Possibly veneer
Vegetable Ivory
Dimensions
38 1/8 x 41 3/8 x 21 3/4 (HxWxD) (inches)
Accession Number
1971.646
Credit Line
Gift of Ralph May
GUSN
5291

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