A Federal Hepplewhite Mahogany and Birch Inlaid Chest of Drawers, Concord, New Hampshire, probably George Whitefield Clark, c.1815
This is an interesting chest with the full compliment of inlays seen on the highly developed school of Portsmouth chests that usually have french feet. (See image below from Levy’s In Search of Excellence for one such chest). Our model is probably a little later with Sheraton reeded baluster legs. Interestingly, the cabinetmaker followed through with the introduction of a turned leg below a crossbanded birch panel, adding design continuity.
Attribution is based on the signature scalloped shaping of the skirt, which is a match to that on a chest labeled by George W. Rogers of Concord, now exhibited by the New Hampshire Historical Society. (See scan below for an illustration from Historical New Hampshire, Spring 1990.)
Nevertheless, the legs are absolutely correct to the chest and all of the veneers show a shrinkage that only time gives. This piece is all original, in addition to the brasses. This chest leaves nothing out. Note the banded inlay along the top edge and above the skirt. Unlike most chests of this form, this chest employs a central drop panel of contrasting veneer and inlay, which is flanked by a shaped skirt working a serpentine curve into a sharp half round terminating into the inlaid panels above each leg.
Lastly, the flame birch sides and top are solid and are of well-chosen quality. Sizes of this width with flame birch (even at that time) were a rarity. So, this is truly a wonderful chest. An examination report on this chest by American furniture scholar Philip Zimmerman, Ph.D. is available on request.
Height: 41 in. Depth: 19 in.
Width: 39 1/2 in. Case Width: 38 3/4 in.
sw01896 - $30,000