High chest of drawers

About 1756–59
Attributed to John Townsend (American, 1733–1809)

Object Place: Newport, Rhode Island

Catalogue Raisonné

Eighteenth-century American Arts No. 32


221.61 x 99.06 x 51.75 cm (87 1/4 x 39 x 20 3/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, white pine

On View

Marilyn and John F. Keane Family Gallery (Gallery 127)




Case furniture and boxes

The extraordinary carving of shell, knee, and foot; the drawer arrangement; and the construction details firmly link this chest to the shop of John Townsend, who was just beginning a long career that established him as one of Newport’s most celebrated furniture makers. Mahogany high chests were the most expensive form in a furniture maker’s repertoire. A subtle feature is the carefully chosen pattern of mahogany grain that zigzags across the drawer fronts.


Purchased, probably from Adele Nicolay, niece of Miss Potter of Kingston, Rhode Island, for the "M. & M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts"

Credit Line

The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts