High Chest of Drawers
High Chest of Drawers, 1760–75
Walnut, yellow poplar, white cedar, brass hardware (replaced)
94 1/2 × 46 3/4 × 23 3/4 in. (240.03 × 118.75 × 60.33 cm)
Purchase, Virginia Booth Vogel Acquisition Fund M1984.120
Photo credit John Nienhuis
Philadelphia was one of the most rapidly growing cities in America during the years leading up to the Revolutionary War. High demand for new furnishings attracted immigrant craftsmen familiar with the most recent British fashions, particularly Rococo design. Although the high chest was outmoded in London by 1730, American cabinetmakers continued to refine the form for another 60 years, culminating in the Philadelphia Rococo interpretation. This unattributed example features the highly developed Philadelphia characteristics of complex scrolled pediments, well-placed drawers, and broad expanses meant to showcase exquisite Rococo carving. Such a piece would have dominated a room, yet its function was more intimate—to store linens and clothing.
This information is subject to change as the result of ongoing research.