In some ways, this high chest, which is often called a
highboy, is really more like a chest on chest. Certainly, the lower
section, with two long drawers above a set of three smaller is a chest
in and of itself. So, our categorization doesn’t always fit the types
that were developed during the Colonial period.
Nevertheless, this is a
fabulous high chest with a beautiful mellowed orange-brown color that
has oxidized nicely through the years and has the full assortment of
bells and whistles. Note the strongly carved claw and ball feet, which
are typically New York. Also of note are the reeded lam’s tongue quarter
While this chest has New York
traits, it probably is a Long Island piece because of the shaped
skirt--which is typical Newport--and the shell. This trait alone does
not define the piece as Rhode Island work, as there was much trade
between Newport and Long Island (and some intermarriage between major
households). An example of a Long Island highboy with the Rhode Island
shell is illustrated in Dean Faley's Long Island is My Nation. Note that the illustrated chest has an unsuccessfully wide aspect, however, the relevant discussion is worth reading.
Also shown below, is an advertisement from Antiques magazine, August 1964.
New York Tiger Maple Chests
are indeed a rarity, and with the strong claw and ball feet, shell, and
fluted lamb’s tongue corners, it is quite a showpiece, albeit with a
more country feeling. This high chest is in a fine state of
preservation, with no repairs or alterations. The brasses are old but
Height: 70 1/2 in. Depth: 21 in.
36 in. Overall Width: 39 1/2 in.