With its distinctive carved shell, skirt profile and raised pad feet, this high chest is part of a group made by the same cabinetmaker in late eighteenth-century New Hampshire. Identified by Brock Jobe, the group consists of dressing tables, tables, a chest-on-chest and high chests that indicate the hand of a woodworker who trained under Joseph Davis (w.1726-after 1762) of Boston, Portsmouth, New Hampshire and possibly Newburyport, Massachusetts. Aside from decorative similarities, this high chest shares construction features with other examples from the group, including identical cornice construction and profile, coved tips on the underside of its feet and raised beads on the drawer sides (Jobe, Portsmouth Furniture (Hanover, 1993), cats. 18-20, pp. 134-142, see fn. 3, p.142 for a listing of other high chests in the group; for another high chest, see Sotheby's New York, June 20, 1996, lot 335).
A likely maker of this group is Major John Demeritt (1728-1826) of Madbury, near Dover, New Hampshire who was the first owner of one of the high chests. His descendant and early twentieth-century owner of his high chest, Jennie Demeritt noted in her family memoir that her ancestor was a skilled cabinetmaker and owned "tools for the making of furniture for the house and for neighboring houses, perhaps." Supporting this assertion, one of the high chests in this group was owned by Simon Randall, Demeritt's neighbor and two dressing tables have Dover area histories (Jobe, pp. 137, 138, 141 and 142).