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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.
chests of drawers
Chest Of Drawers
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.
32 7/8 x 38 3/4 x 20 15/16 (HxWxD) (inches)
Gift of Mrs. Huntly H. Gilbert
Massachusetts (United States)