Chest of Drawers
Norfolk, Virginia, 1790-1805
Mahogany with tulip poplar, oak, sweet gum, white pine, yellow pine, red pine, red cedar, satinwood, maple, and ivory
Catalog no. 114
This Norfolk chest of drawers exhibits many of the sophisticated structural details encountered on the best contemporary British furniture. These include dustboards that extend the whole depth of the case, a fully paneled back, and horizontally grained blocking behind the splayed French feet. The ample size of the piece, unusual by American standards, also reflects a common British approach. Six other equally large Norfolk chests that represent the work of at least two shops are known. All share the same sophisticated and time-consuming structural details noted here. The external ornamentation on each is restrained and almost severely neat and plain. The chests probably were made by British artisans, several of whom immigrated to Norfolk in the 1790s.