Chest of drawers

1640–70
Attributed to Ralph Mason and Henry Messinger Shops (Mason (1599–1678/79); Messinger (died in 1681))


Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 38

Dimensions

130.2 x 119.9 x 58.6 cm (51 1/4 x 47 3/16 x 23 1/16 in.)

Accession Number

32.219

Medium or Technique

Oak, cedrela (Cedrela odorata), black walnut, cedar, ebony

On View

Manning House (Gallery LG36)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Case furniture and boxes

Perhaps the earliest example of Boston furniture in the Museum’s collection, this is a full-fledged chest of drawers, an innovative form rarely made in America before 1690. Exotic tropical hardwoods in its construction and decoration include ebony for the turned spindles in the upper case and cedrela (and local black walnut) for the facade and sides of the upper and lower cases. The use of woods imported from far away reflects the participation of Boston’s craftsmen in international trade as early as the mid-seventeenth century.

Inscription

Top right drawer inscribed: "J Murray, A [?] Murray, Michael [?] Murray"
Drawers numbered on bottom.

Provenance

Early history unknown; lent by Charles H. Tyler, October 3, 1928, and made part of his bequest in 1932 (Accession Date September 1, 1932).

Credit Line

Bequest of Charles Hitchcock Tyler