34 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (87.6 x 95.3 x 52.7 cm)
Rogers Fund, 1927
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 717
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.
Inscription: [in ink, on paper label centered inside top-drawer bottom]: Made by/John Townsend/Rhode Island/1765 [in chalk, on bottom board and on back boards, large joiner's marks]: 05[?]
Probably originally purchased by George Champlin (died 1809), Newport, Rhode Island; his wife's niece Ruth Channing Tenney and her husband Caleb Jewett Tenney, Newport, Rhode Island, 1809; their daughter Elizabeth Tenney Allen, Northampton Massachusetts, before 1865; her daughter Clara Channing Allen, Northampton, Massachusetts; purchased from her in 1927 by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.