Chest of drawers

Maker: John Townsend (1732–1809)

Date: 1765

Geography: Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Mahogany, tulip poplar, pine, chestnut

Dimensions: 34 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (87.6 x 95.3 x 52.7 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1927

Accession Number: 27.57.1


John Townsend was perhaps the greatest master of block-and-shell furniture, the signature style of Rhode Island cabinetmakers. This chest is one of eight known case pieces that he signed or labeled. Two of the pieces, including this one, are dated 1765; the others date from around 1790, suggesting how long-lived this style was. All are remarkably alike in overall design, decorative detail, and construction.