Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Chest of drawers

John Townsend (1732–1809)
Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Mahogany, tulip poplar, pine, chestnut
34 1/2 x 37 1/2 x 20 3/4 in. (87.6 x 95.3 x 52.7 cm)
Credit Line:
Rogers Fund, 1927
Accession Number:
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.
Related Objects

Tall clock

Artist: Case by John Townsend (1732–1809) Date: 1789 Medium: Mahogany, cherry, chestnut, oak Accession: 27.57.2 On view in:Gallery 719

Card table

Artist: John Townsend (1732–1809) Date: ca. 1786 Medium: Mahogany, maple, chestnut, tulip poplar Accession: 27.161 On view in:Gallery 719


Artist: Attributed to John Townsend (1732–1809) Date: 1760–90 Medium: Mahogany Accession: 10.125.422 On view in:Gallery 774

Drop-leaf Pembroke Table

Artist: John Townsend (1732–1809) Date: ca. 1795 Medium: Primary wood: mahogany and lightwood inlays; secondary woods: maple and chestnut Accession: 1980.293 On view in:Gallery 754

Drop-leaf dining table

Artist: John Townsend (1732–1809) Date: 1756 Medium: Mahogany, maple Accession: 2012.442.1 On view in:Gallery 719