Chest on frame

Massachusetts, United States
ca. 1680–1700
Physical Description:
34 1/4 x 28 1/4 x 18 1/2 in.
Oak; pine; cedar; paint
Sack catalogue description: Original catalogue description (October 1978) – Pilgrim oak and pine chest on frame or dower chest, the case is fronted by two recessed geometric panels which retain the original decoration of floral sprays in a rust red background, one drawer below with divided recessed panels of rust red background; the panels of the drawer and case are bordered by cedar moldings, pine lift top with molded edge, the legs and stretchers are sausage turned; the stiles which are one piece with the legs have original grained decoration, this chest on frame is one of a handful of this rare form and is in our opinion in the finest state of original preservation. Ex-collection Charles K. Davis; a pilgrim masterpiece. Updated catalogue description (1979) – Among the greats of the Pilgrim century, the chest on frame or dower chest must take its place as perhaps the most desirable. Made for only a few of the Massachusetts Colony's first families, along with the court and press cupboards, this Pilgrim luxury was precursor to the lowboys which were to follow later. While time usually exacts its toll on these early survivals, the structural and decorative elements of this piece are virtually intact, enhanced by the gradual mellowness of time with obvious care and preservation during its lifetime. Most of the known examples of Pilgrim chests on frames are in only a few American museums and in a handful of private collections. It passed from B. A. Behrend of Wellesley Hills, one of Massachusetts's pioneer collectors, to Israel Sack in the 1930s, and thence to the collection of Charles K. Davis. Reacquired by our firm again in the 1970s, it now resides in a superb private collection where it is fully understood and appreciated.
Related objects: Book: Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: Macmillan Publishing co., 1928), no. 216. Book: Helen Comstock, American Furniture Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century Styles (New York: The Viking Press, 1962), p. 43, fig. 58. Book: Dean A. Fales, Jr., American Painted Furniture, 1660–1880 (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1979), p. 554, fig. 72. Book: Christopher Monkhouse and Thomas S. Michie, American Furniture In Pendleton House (Providence: Rhode Island School of Design, 1986), p. 75–76, no. 21.
Bibliography: Book: American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1990), vol. 6, p. 26 and 1592–1593, pl. P4690. Journal/Periodical: "Antiques in Domestic Settings: The Home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles K. Davis," The Magazine Antiques (January 1941): p. 19, fig. 2. Journal/Periodical: Harold Sack, "A 17th Century Chest-on-Frame," American Collector (January 1940): cover and p. 14.
YUAG catalogue note: Several other chamber tables by the same shop tradition retain some passages of their painted decoration, including the small floral sprigs in the panels of the storage compartment and the squiggle painting on the frame. Among these are one with vasiform turnings that is illustrated in Nutting, Furniture Treasury, no. 216, later acquired by the Brooklyn Museum, while another at the Rhode Island School of Design retains the painted decoration on the case but has a restored base.
Variant Titles:
Pilgrim oak and pine chest on frame
Decoration and ornament--Mannerist style
Furniture--United States
Accession Number:
chests on frames (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, October 1978; Sack, 1979
This information is taken from the Israel Sack Furniture Archive and may not reflect current scholarship.
Folder 10667 cab2enddr3
Yale Collection:
Yale University Art Gallery
Digital Collection:
Israel Sack Furniture Archive
oid pointer:

Number of Pages: 2
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