Description: AMERICAN CHIPPENDALE REVERSE-SERPENTINE CHEST OF DRAWERS
Eastern Massachusetts, c. 1770-90
Item # 503JRB12X
An exceedingly fine chest of drawers, the oxbow is a particularly difficult form to master and added significant cost for clients requesting this kind of case during the period. The top projects with a distinct boldness over the sides and front of the case, this two-board piece handsomely molded of the solid around all three edges, sliding onto the sides of the case on dovetails to allow the top to easily shrink and expand without structural stress. All primary surfaces are crafted of a dense and well-figured Yellow Birch, the pure and undistracted nature of the pure grain lending well to the undulating form of the reverse-serpentine or """"oxbow"""". Termed as such for the appearance of a yoke, the drawers are sawn perfectly in a complex display of graduated serpentine, each retaining their original bail pull brasses and stamped brass keyhole escutcheons. The interiors of the top and third drawers retain their original wrought iron locks with the original rosehead nails affixing them to the interior. All secondary woods are Eastern White Pine, the drawers with large and precisely cut hand dovetails graduating in reverse with the largest dovetail at the top and successively smaller to the half-lapped bottom dovetail. The bottom is deeply chamfered and set in grooves along the sides and front edge, tacked along the back edge of the drawer with four wrought nails. The drawers are entirely original without even the most minor of repairs, these projecting slightly from the case due to the shrinking that has occurred to the sides of the case - as a result, the glue block drawer stops at the back have slowly moved forward over time and moved the drawers forward as well. This is a relatively simple thing for a craftsman to repair and it is a wonderful thing that no one has chosen to do so - the result is an entirely untouched interior, retaining it's untouched drawer runners, glue blocks, backboards and all untouched nails. Dividing the drawers are solid birch drawer blades, set into the case presumably on small dovetail slots beneath the applied molded strips on either side of the case (not removed to verify if this is dovetail joinery). The thin beading along the drawer blades and sides simulate cockbead molding, nicely framing the outline of the each drawer. The sides of the case dovetail into the bottom, a single solid plank of pine. Resting over shapely scroll cut bracket feet with a spurred return, the base conforms to the oxbow form of the case with thick birch affixed to the pine core behind it with a large dovetail behind the center tear-drop finial. The feet are particularly fragile and have seen horizontal cracking over the years - as a result, several facings have partial replacements, these appearing to be quite old 19th century replacements that have nicely oxidized and become a part of the chest's stable history. The feet and immediate blocking show all of the hand tooling and carving of a craftsman who spared no time on the unseen, leaving all of these surfaces unfinished to oxidize. For the serious collector of the very best in American furniture, this is a very fine acquisition that will certainly be a highlight of your collection.
Dimensions: 21 15/16"""" D x 42"""" W x 32"""" H
Condition Report: Quite early refinish, the top more brilliant with later polishing; deep and well developed patina throughout under later layers of waxing. Feet are mostly original with partial replacements from cracking: front left, back left and front right foot side facings are partially replaced (lower 3 1/2-4 1/2""""), other feet with cracking along the grain, front left foot with patch to spur (core of the spur is original, outer approx. 1/8"""" replaced); back right foot triangular support possibly replaced; review the detailed slideshow of images for more full review of feet. All hardware original, 2nd drawer from top missing lock, no key included, several stamped escutcheons with bending and dents. Untouched structure, the drawers projecting slightly due to shrinking of the sides of the case - the same shrinkage is what has pushed the backboards back slightly. Backboards and interior untouched, retaining all original wrought nails. Crack on lower edge at back of left side and front of right side. Top with separation along joint of two boards, old staining and discoloration. We have 92 detailed pictures of every aspect of this chest of drawers available on our primary website.
Due to image limitations clients should visit our gallery website (www.sillafineantiques.com) prior to purchase to review all item images. Verbal condition reports are also available by calling (717) 658-8274 Monday through Friday 9a-5:30p or by emailing email@example.com
Literature: References and Similar Sale Results:
American Antiques from the Israel Sack Collection, Vol II., f. 1116, a Chippendale Birch Oxbow Bureau of Salem c. 1770-90 resting over ball and claw feet with a carved patera central motif
Neal Auction Company 30 September 2006, lot 303 for $38,187.50 (inc. buyer's premium)
James D. Julia, 25-28 August 2009, a Massachusetts Mahogany Oxbow Chest over straight bracket feet (no central finial), achieved $10,975.
Notes: $345 freight shipping to most locations in the Continental U.S by common freight carrier with a delivery timeline of 10-15 business days (west coast up to 20 business days). Quotes do not include lift-gate service, which is recommended for weights over 150lbs - lift gate service is available upon request for an additional $65. White glove delivery service quotes are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the shop at (717) 658-8274. Please review all shipping notes for details and exceptions. (Shipping code 450)
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