With boldly turned feet and geometric patterns of applied moldings, this chest-of-drawers is a rare survival of Boston furniture from the turn of the eighteenth century. The applied ornament juxtaposes right and acute angles and illustrates the Mannerist aesthetic of the seventeenth century. However, the turned feet point to the emerging William and Mary style. An extension of the European Baroque, this new style was introduced to America by immigrant British cabinetmakers in the late seventeenth century and remained popular until the 1730s. According to Albert Sack, this chest-of-drawers is "a masterful example that expresses boldness and the hand of a superior craftsman and designer" (Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York, 1993), p. 92).
Decorative and construction details indicate the chest's Boston origins. Similar patterns of octagonal moldings seen on the third drawer relate this chest to a Boston chest-of-drawers illustrated in Peter Follansbee and Robert F. Trent, "Reassessing the London-Style Joinery and Turning of Seventeenth-Century Boston," American Furniture 2010, Luke Beckerdite, ed. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 2010), p. 224, fig. 34. Furthermore, the drawer construction is typical of Boston joinery at this time, with drawer sides dovetailed to the drawer fronts, nailed to the drawer backs and supported by runners that slide into channels cut into the drawer sides. The top is reinforced on the underside with a central strut running from front to back, another hallmark of Boston craftsmanship (Follansbee and Trent, pp. 210-211, fig. 11).