Chest of Drawers

Date: ca. 1747

Geography: Made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Japanned maple, white pine

Dimensions: 70 1/4 x 39 5/8 x 21 in. (178.4 x 100.6 x 53.3 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1909

Accession Number: 10.125.58


Japanning is the Western imitation of Asian lacquerwork through the use of paint. On this high chest, the tortoiseshell background was created by streaking lampblack over a vermillion ground. The raised figures and landscapes were built up with gesso (a chalklike substance) and gilded. Few pieces of eighteenth-century American japanned furniture have survived with their surface intact.