With its distinctive inlaid ornament, drawer configuration and large bracket feet, this tall chest-of-drawers is one of at least four made by the same shop. These include one inlaid BK/1784 in the collection of Philip H. Bradley, Co., Downington, Pennsylvania, a second inlaid 1794/SC in the collection of Colonial Williamsburg, Inc. and illustrated in Hurst and Prown, Southern Furniture 1680-1830 (New York, 1997), cat. 117, pp.373-376, and a third inlaid SC/1790 in the collection of the Historical Society of Berks County. Another example inlaid RH is cited in Hurst and Prown, fn.4.
The group exemplifies the diverse woodworking traditions of the region and may be indicative of the movement of craftsmen from Pennsylvania to Virginia. The tall chest form and fluted quarter columns were part of the repertoire of Pennsylvania cabinetmakers inspired by English designs. The inlaid decoration is reminiscent of the famous line-and-berry inlay associated with nearby Chester County craftsmanship; a related chest with ogee bracket feet from this area bears similar geometric stringing on its top center drawer (Schiffer, Furniture and Its Makers of Chester County, Pennsylvania (Exton, Pennsylvania, 1978), figs. 138 and 139). At the same time, the construction of the chests, employing wedged dovetails, numerous wooden pins and full dustboards, exhibits the fastidious and heavy construction methods introduced to the region by immigrant German craftsmen in the mid-eighteenth century. With secondary woods of either yellow pine or poplar, the chests bear woods native to a large area from Pennsylvania down through the Shenandoah Valley to Virginia. Purchased from an estate sale in 1894 in Shenandoah county, Virginia, the example at Colonial Williamsburg has been attributed to the Valley of Virginia and, dated 1794, may indicate the work of a cabinetmaker who trained in Pennsylvania.