Browse Lots

Global notice COVID-19 Important notice
A CHIPPENDALE MAHOGANY BOMBE CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE NEW ENGLAND FAMILY
A CHIPPENDALE MAHOGANY BOMBE CHEST-OF-DRAWERS

PROBABLY BOSTON, CIRCA 1770

Details
A CHIPPENDALE MAHOGANY BOMBE CHEST-OF-DRAWERS
PROBABLY BOSTON, CIRCA 1770
33 in. high, 36½ in. wide, 22¾ in. deep
Provenance
Israel Sack, Boston
Albert R. Whittier, Jr.
Sold, Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, 26 October 1957, lot 91
John S. Walton
John Howland Ricketson III, Buzzard's Bay, Massachusetts
Sold, Northeast Auctions, New Hampshire, 29 May 1993, lot 96
Wayne Pratt, Inc., Woodbury, Connecticut, 2000
Literature
Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture: The Colonial Era (Boston, 1984), pp. 152-153, cat. 18, fns, 9-11.

Condition Report

If you wish to view the condition report of this lot, please sign in to your account.

Sign in
View condition report

Lot Essay

This bombé chest-of-drawers is a rare survival of eighteenth-century Massachusetts' most celebrated furniture design. With provenance dating back to the renowned Whittier collection and handled by the Boston Shop of Israel Sack, this chest is a superb example of one of the most sought after forms of American cabinetwork executed at the height of the Rococo period.

The present lot is closely related to approximately ten other chests that together represent the work of a school of cabinetmaking with ties to both Boston and Salem (two examples sold in these rooms, figs. 1 and 2). Displaying tops with notched corners, a visible rail below the bottom drawer, seemingly identical base moldings, and the same drop pendant and foot designs, the chests appear to have been made by craftsmen of similar training or working in close proximity. The group is identified by Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture (Boston, 1984), cat. 18, pp. 152-153, fns. 9-11 who cite the following examples: Charles W. Lyon, advertisement, The Magazine Antiques (April 1961), p. 319; Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement, The Magazine Antiques (August 1976); Ginsburg & Levy, advertisement, The Magazine Antiques (February 1950), p. 101; Sotheby Parke Bernet, the Garbisch Collection, sale H2, May 1980, vol. 4, lot 1159; DAPC 70.3778; Americana, Midwest Collectors Choice, 15, no. 31; DAPC 66.2373 (the latter two may refer to the same chest). See also chests sold, Christie's, New York, 16 January 1998, lot 469 (fig. 1), 16 January 2004, lot 435 (fig. 2) and 30 September 2009, lot 92.

Subtle variations in the proportions and design include the curvature of the case sides. Some of the examples display a bulge beginning immediately at the top of the third drawer, including the present lot, whereas others have a more gradual flare originating within the range of the second drawer. While such variations could be explained by an evolution within one shop, more significant differences in construction, such as the presence of a full dust board in this chest, indicate the work of different hands. The combination between the subtle curvature of the case sides and the ogee foot construction result in the graceful silhouette which was prized by well-to-do eighteenth century Massachusetts residents; the skill and labor required to produce these chests, rare in their own time, made them very costly.
;

Related Articles

View all
The A-Z of furniture: Terminol auction at Christies
Eyes on the prize: images of g auction at Christies
Christie’s announces new Asia  auction at Christies

More from Important American Furniture, Folk Art & Decorative Arts

View All
View All