The Classical period introduced many new elements of form and embellishment, as this new country began to look away from the traditional English patterns of Chippendale, Hepplewhite, and Sheraton toward a more universal design. Classicism based on ancient forms was reinterpreted, not only in this country but also in England and on the Continent. Abandoning the curvilinear style of the Chippendale-Rococo form, straight lines, pillars, carved paw feet, lyres, etc became the new vocabulary.
This chest is one of very high quality for the period and produced in New York, one of the few cities that could support a clientele able to purchase this costly chest. Of note is the gilt edging which greatly defines the grace and delicacy that modifies a rather square and formidable case form (see detail and also note the fine carving of the lyre supports). Also, stenciling is used to similar advantage on the drawerfronts and columns, all of which elements were particularly used in fine New York cabinetshops.
This chest is related to a grouping of furniture with gilt stenciling and a related example can be seen in Classical Taste in America, Wendy Cooper (see scan below); see also Masterpieces of American Furniture from the Muson-Williams-Proctor Institute. Further, we have several other pieces of this style (e.g. sw00557
This chest is in mint condition, which is notable because many stencils of this period become worn and lost, and gilt at the edges of the drawers subject to damage through misuse. This chest retains its original wood pulls and obviously was cared for as something special through the years.
Height: 68 1/2 in. Width: 37 in. Depth: 22 1/8 in.