Dressing table

Boston, Suffolk county, Massachusetts, United States
ca. 1735–1745
Physical Description:
31 1/2 x 33 1/2 x 21 in.
Walnut; brass
Sack catalogue description: A rare Queen Anne walnut blockfront lowboy, the two rows of drawers are divided into three drawers each, the drawers and apron retain the original bat wing brasses; the brasses on the apron are purely ornamental and serve to accentuate the panel effect, the molded edge top is of conforming shape with notched corners on all four sides, the piece retains the original warm mellow brown patina. Descended in the Howland-Wellington-Ellery families and purchased by us from a direct descendant. The problem of integrating the boldness of the blocked formation into a curvilinear composition required the skill of a master and is brilliantly accomplished here; the basic formation is three planes of curves: 1) The cyma-curved line of the blocking; 2) The compensating curves of the apron outline; and 3) The vertical curve of the graceful cabriole legs. This masterpiece of the blockfront form falls into the earliest blockfront group and is the rarest of the major blockfront designs; we know of two closely similar examples, almost certainly by the same unidentified maker. One, which belonged to a direct descendant of Priscilla Alden, is illustrated in Sack, Fine Points of Furniture: Early American, p. 193; the other, formerly owned by Mrs. Charles Hallam Keep, is privately owned. A squared block example closely related to these is in the Henry F. du Pont Winterthur Museum, illustrated in Downs, pl. 325. Each of these lowboys was owned at one time by Israel Sack.
Related objects: Book: Albert Sack, Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1955), p. 203. Book: Joseph Downs, American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods, in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum (New York: Macmillan, 1952), pl. 327.
Bibliography: Book: American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1990), vol. 3, pp. 738–739, pl. P3394; vol. 4, p. 861, pl. P3394.
YUAG catalogue note: The related dressing table in the collection of the Winterthur Museum, Delaware is object 1961.0142.
Variant Titles:
Queen Anne walnut blockfront lowboy
Decoration and ornament--Queen Anne style
Furniture--United States
Queen Anne
Accession Number:
dressing tables (AAT)
low chests (AAT)
Physical Object
Content Type:
Furnishings & Decorative Arts
Prints & Photographs
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Access Restrictions:
Source Title:
Israel Sack, Inc., Archive
Source Created:
New York, New York, United States
Source Note:
Sack, September 1971; Sack, 1974
This information is taken from the Israel Sack Furniture Archive and may not reflect current scholarship.
Folder 10319 cab1dr4 tiff
Yale Collection:
Yale University Art Gallery
Digital Collection:
Israel Sack Furniture Archive
oid pointer:

Number of Pages: 3
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