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This listing is for a Fine American Chippendale Period Reverse Serpentine Front Chest of Drawers, Massachusetts, circa 1760-80. It is beyond stunning visually, with a fine refinish and polish that brings each surface to life in a very real way. The molded top is a single solid board, not veneered in any way, molded around the serpentine rim. To prevent cracking from shrinking and expanding over time, the craftsman attached the top with a dovetail joint, whereby the top slides onto the top of the case using a dovetail along the entire underside. As the board contracts and expands, it does so freely along this joint, which is why after nearly three-hundred years we have a flawless looking board free of cracks or splits.
Both sides of the case are single solid boards, incredibly wide, dovetailed into the bottom of the case - this is seen from the inside of the case, where score marks are evident along the pine bottom. The backboards are pine, locked into the case with a mix of cut nails and rose head nails, each of the boards covered with an even dark oxidization The face is composed of four graduated solid carved drawers, each an absolute work of art. The face of each board is cut precisely to form a flawless serpentine oxbow shape, a very difficult and tricky thing to accomplish as a craftsman. They are hand dovetailed front and back, each with matching perfectly executed dovetails; the single board pine bottom rabbets into either side of the frame, chamfered along the edges, nailed at the back. Each has replaced brass hardware, though no additional holes have been drilled for the hardware as to preserve originality in the construction. The lock hardware is also replaced and without a key. The drawers slide smoothly and easily over molded carved dividers and replaced interior rails with new screws. It is worth noting just how smooth the drawer operation is, as the drawers were crafted to be incredibly light and to dance in and out of the case.
The case rests on projecting carved molding over scroll cut ogee bracket feet, each with original interior blocking and appearing to be entirely original. There is just the slightest variation in color between the feet and the case, but we've examined it very closely and believe the feet and molding are original - I'd ask that you look carefully at the images just to verify for yourself prior to purchasing, but that is our assessment of the case. The feet are clearly hand carved and the oxidization matches that of the rest of the case, all glue appears to be original hide glue with all original blocking. The rear feet are supported by a triangular pine brace that rabbets into the side of each rear foot. Two modern screws are visible on the underside of the case, flanked by rose head nails at the face. Modern screws also support the feet - these appear to have been added in the 20th century, probably around the same time the case was refinished to reinforce the feet.
When this case was crafted, it would have been prohibitively expensive and out of the reach of all but the most affluent of customers. It was a statement of wealth to own a piece like this, and took countless hours to design and execute each and tiny detail by hand. The refinish was also incredibly well executed, carefully and respectfully restoring every aspect of the chest to ultimately enhance the patina of the chest. Dings and abrasions have oxidized over time, turning dark and becoming part of the character of the chest, growing a charm and depth that only are found through hundreds of years of life.
This is the finest Chippendale Period Chest of Drawers we have ever carried, perfect in every way and preserved originally in almost every facet of the chest. It boasts the most intensely grained solid boards covering every square inch of the case. This is an outstanding find for any serious collector of American furniture and brings incredible life to any room.
39" wide x 21 1/8" deep x 32 13/16" high.
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