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Chest of Drawers

1963.350 (RS214160)

Description

Mahogany chest of drawers with white pine secondary wood; four graduated serpentine front drawers and boldly carved ball and claw feet. The base molding displays a central shell drop comprised of a two-dimensional carved shell.

Details

Label
Four strong, curled claws, like mahogany talons, grasp supportive balls that bear the weight of this chest of drawers, produced about 1770-1800 in the Salem, Massachusetts area. Eighteenth-century inventories referred to ball and claw forms as “claw feet” or “eagle feet.” In comparison to the feet, the shell carving in the central drop that decorates the base molding demonstrates flat rather than two-dimensional carving. Ball and claw feet and shell carvings, along with the “butterfly” backplates of the brasses, and the serpentine curve of the drawers comprise elements of what collectors term the “Chippendale” style which was popular in America in the second half of the eighteenth century. This chest of drawers descended in the Dale family of Danvers, Massachusetts, a town adjacent to Salem. The piece bears similarities to other case furniture from the Salem area that display boldly carved ball and claw feet and two-dimensional shells.<br/>
Maker
unknown
Date
1775-1800
Material
mahogany (wood)
Object type
Furniture
Places
Massachusetts (United States)
Descriptive terms
case furniture
Chest Of Drawers
chests of drawers
Chippendale
mahogany (wood)
Dimensions
32 7/8 x 38 3/4 x 20 15/16 (HxWxD) (inches)
Accession Number
1963.350
Credit Line
Gift of Mrs. Huntly H. Gilbert
GUSN
55957

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