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

The richest and most vigorous early colonial carving is that associated with the work of William Searle (1634–1667) and Thomas Dennis (1638–1706) of Ipswich. Paired leaves, with a naturalistic, three-dimensional quality rare in American furniture of the period, dominate the panels of this chest; the panels are carved in the popular seventeenth-century design of a stalk of flowers and leaves emerging from an urn, of which only the opening is indicated here. Searle and Dennis 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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