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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
[HD] Historic Deerfield; [MH] Mount Holyoke College Art Museum; [MH SK] The Joseph Allen Skinner Museum at Mount Holyoke College; [SC] Smith College Museum of Art; [UM] University Museum of Contemporary Art at UMASS Amherst

 


Culture:American
Title:chest-on-frame
Date Made:1775-1800
Type:Furniture
Materials:wood: cherry, pine, maple; base metal: brass, metal; chalk
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Deerfield area
Measurements:overall: 38 1/8 in x 39 1/2 in x 20 5/8 in; 96.8375 cm x 100.33 cm x 52.3875 cm
Accession Number:  HD 76.050
1976-50t.jpg

Description:
Four drawer scalloped-top chest-on-frame with a pine top, cherry body, and maple frame, which has a chalk inscription on the bottom of the bottom drawer: "I the subscriber for value received Promise [illeg.] Smead." The scalloped top concept, which begain in Wethersfield, Connecticut in the 1750s, migrated up the Connecticut River Valley to the Northampton-Hatfield- Deerfield region of western Massachusetts, where other variants in this style were made into the first years of the nineteenth century. Three of these chests have their origins in Deerfield; according to family tradition, David Hoyt (who lived in the Old Indian House) gave scalloped-top chests to his daughters, Persis, Mercy, and Mary, upon their marriages in 1769, 1779, and 1786. This chest is closest in style to Mary's chest (54.017), but the craftsmanship varies; however, this chest and Mary's are the only scalloped-top chests known that do not have a central drawer with a carved fan, and are also the only ones with pointed slipper feet. The outline of the scalloped design on the front is the same, but there is a different outline throughout, such as the manner in which the two pendants on front and scalloped top are carved. This piece is slightly more crudely done and does not have as crisp an outline as does Mary's chest; this one is also taller and therefore the carved top not so visible. The deeply-scalloped top on the front and sides is over four graduated, molded-edged drawers; the front corners have been chipped off on the top and third drawers, and the brasses are not original. The maple frame has a molded top, two carved pendants along the front rail, and short cabriole legs ending in ridged, pointed slipper feet. Four screw holes along the front under the bottom drawer give evidence that the upper section was once screwed into the frame. The frame has modern strengthening screws, and the drawers have new nails. The piece is in remarkedly original condition, nevertheless, with possibly its original finish, somewhat darkened and marred.

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