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    Sale 2095

    The Collection Of Marguerite And Arthur Riordan, Stonington, Connecticut

    18 January 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 591



    Price Realised  

    This lot is offered without a reserve

    Attributed to Peter Newcomb (1718-1779), Lebanon, New London County, Connecticut, Circa 1775-1779
    83 in. high, 44 in. wide (knees), 19¼ in. deep (knees)

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    It is likely that this chest-on-chest is that mentioned in Peter Newcomb's will, which reads I give to my 2nd daughter Jemima the bead (sic) she now lies on with the furniture thear (sic) to belonging and also one case with draws (sic) and two plain chests. According to family history, this is that "case with draws."

    Jemima Newcomb was the daughter of Peter Newcomb (1718-1779) and Hannah English, both of Lebanon, Connecticut. While family tradition has long held that this chest-on-chest was made for the 1787 marriage of Jemima and Gideon Clark (1759-1835) of Columbia, Connecticut, it must have been made prior to that as Peter Newcomb died eight years prior to her wedding.

    What little is known about Peter Newcomb survives in the form of a nineteenth-century family history: Peter Newcomb b. at Lebanon, Connecticut 28 Nov. 1718, baptized 20 Jan. 1719, married Nov. 1740, in the northern part of town, later called Columbia, according to the rolls of Connecticut men in Hartford, French and Indian War 1755-62. Peter Newcomb of Lebanon served in an expedition against Canada, 1758 under Capt. Gilbert. He had returned to Lebanon 1744-1745, and settled on the road to Windham. Mr. Newcomb though a carpenter and cabinetmaker, owned over 200 acres of land. He was elected surveyor, tax collector, surveyor of highways, etc. He died in Lebanon, later Columbia. (see John B. Newcomb, Andrew Newcomb (1618-1686) and His Descendants (New Haven, 1874).

    This chest-on-chest exhibits several elements usually found on furniture made in New London County and discussed at length in Minor Myers, Jr. and Edgar deN. Mayhew, New London County Furniture 1640-1840 (New London, 1974). These characteristics include the use of engaged quarter columns and a five-over-three drawer configuration. This chest-on-chest relates closely to a chest-on-chest attributed to John Wheeler Geer of Preston, illustrated in Myers and Mayhew, p. 59, cat. no. 64. Both examples exhibit arched pediments with six-lobed rosette terminals, a five-over-three drawer configuration, the use of quarter columns and short, broad triangular dovetails. While chestnut is not present in the Geer chest-on-chest, it was often found in New London County furniture and is present in the drawers of the chest-on-chest offered here.

    For more information on New London County furniture, see Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Delaware, 1997), cat. nos. 181 and 183, as well as Gerald W.R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, 1988), cat. nos. 84.

    Special Notice

    This lot is offered without reserve.


    Probable line of descent, according to tradition:
    Peter Newcomb (1718-1779)
    Jemima Newcomb (1756-1844), daughter
    Chester Clark (1790-1867), son
    Charles Clark, son
    Mary Adelia Clark Isham (1823-1904), sister
    Henry Clark Isham (1856-1937), son
    Adelaide Isham Gilette (1886-1973), daughter
    Thence by descent
    Sold Skinner, Inc., Boston, June 11, 2000, lot 118