Federal Chest of Drawers, New York, 1805-1810
The oblong, cross banded top with reeded edge, inlaid with brass stringing, on a conforming case with four flat drawers with brass bale handle drawer pulls with stamped brass back plates. The drawers flanked by vertical reeding raised on turned and reeded tapering legs terminating in brass ferule socket feet. The brass drawer pull are original and are stamped “HJ”. Woods: Mahogany Veneer, White Pine and Tulip Poplar.
H: 36″ W: 36½” D: 21¼”
Condition: Excellent: The chest has survived in virtually perfect condition. The brass is all original. Wood re-finished with shellac in the manner of the period. Brass restored to its original matte and burnished lacquered appearance.
This is a rare form and desirable size. Indeed, it has no exact counterpart in the literature and museum collections of the period although a similar bureau with an upper layer of short drawers is in the collection of Boscobel Restoration and illustrated in Berry Tracy’s “Federal Furniture and Decorative Arts at Boscobel” (New York, Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1981), p. 97. The evident entasis of the reeded legs is reminiscent of the legs on a Sheraton scroll-back sofa in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Stylistically, it is related to the furniture that Duncan Phyfe was making for his client, William Bayard, in 1807 and a work table that bears Phyfe’s label, made about the same time. The cross-banding and subtle brass string inlay of the top is very rare and indicates a high level of refinement and the hand of a top cabinetmaker.