Art/ Collection/ Art Object

High chest of drawers

Probably made in Boston, Massachusetts, United States
Painted white pine, poplar, basswood
52 x 39 1/2 x 21 3/4 in. (132.1 x 100.3 x 55.2 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Russell Sage, 1909
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 713
The decoration on this chest, with its oriental motifs and palette of red, orange, and what was originally bright yellow on a black ground, was meant to imitate a technique known as japanning. Beginning in the mid-seventeenth century, imported Japanese and Chinese lacquer cabinets and screens became extremely popular in England. This lacquer work was much imitated in London on furniture and wall paneling. The technique eventually spread to Boston by about 1700.
Inscription: scratched on outer left side of top left drawer: T[?]Seph / Lr [partly obliterated]; inscribed in chalk on outer right side: [?] Charles [?] [partly obliterated] / in ink: S A R [?]
H. Eugene Bolles, Boston, until 1909; [Mrs. Russell Sage, New York, 1909]
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