Joined chest


Object Place: Portsmouth or Kittery, New Hampshire or Maine


Overall: 77.5 x 128.9 x 54 cm (30 1/2 x 50 3/4 x 21 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oak, pine

On View

Brown-Pearl Hall (Gallery LG35)




Case furniture and boxes

A large joined chest with nailed board sides and rear; the stiles and boards extend to form the feet. Stylized rosettes, crosshatching, and S-scrolls are carved on the front of the corner posts, on the top rail, and on the muntins. A foliate pattern is carved on the bottom rail. The central panel contains a shield carved with initials and the date, and with scrolls and rosettes; the side panels are carved with a central circular motif with four leaf buds. There are traces of verdigris, vermilion, and ocher paint.

This chest is unusual in that it combines joinery used to construct the front panel with nailed-board construction, which fastens in place the sides and back. The front is carved with a shield-shaped, heraldic device flanked by panels containing circles surrounded by leaf buds. The horizontal rails and vertical stiles are carved with S-scrolls and other motifs. The craftsman used red (now faded), yellow, and blue-green paint to highlight the carving and help define the joined structure of the facade.


Central panel on front with the carved inscription "RS 1685." The lower corners of this panel also have the carved initials "I" and "R." "B" is also scratched into this panel at thr top proper right corner.
The proper right back corner of the lid has the scratched initials "A / L"


Sold by Harry Arons Antiques, Ansonia, CT to Dr. and Mrs. James W. Marvin, Burlington, VT; 1978, sold at auction, Sotheby Parke Bernet, sale 4156, lot 326, to Samaha Antiques, Milan, Ohio; 1978, sold by Samaha Antiques to the MFA. (Accession Date: October 18, 1978)

Credit Line

Museum purchase with funds donated anonymously