Chest

Maker: Possibly William Searle (died 1667)

Maker: Thomas Dennis (1638–1706)

Date: 1663–80

Geography: Made in Ipswich, Massachusetts, United States

Culture: American

Medium: White oak, red oak

Dimensions: 29 3/4 x 49 1/8 x 21 3/8 in. (75.6 x 124.8 x 54.3 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1909

Accession Number: 10.125.685

Description

Nearly every seventeenth-century family owned at least one chest for storing linens, personal belongings, and household goods. On this example, the low, horizontal proportions and frame-and-panel construction are hallmarks of the seventeenth-century style. The three central panels are carved in the popular period design of a stalk of flowers and leaves emerging from an urn. The likely makers of this chest, William Searle (1634–1667) and Thomas Dennis (1638–1706), came from Devonshire, England, where a tradition of florid carving, using many of the motifs seen on this chest, flourished in the early seventeenth century.

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