High chest of drawers
European artisans flocked to the British colonies and plied their knowledge of foreign fashions to suit the tastes of local patrons. This chest’s scrolled pediment with a figural finial bust resembles plates in The Gentlemen and Cabinet Maker’s Director (1754) by British craftsman Thomas Chippendale. Similarly, the serpent-and-swan motif on the bottom drawer is based on a design by London carver Thomas Johnson in A New Book of Ornaments (1762). As true of period portraiture, furnishings reveal colonists’ awareness of European trends. The owner of this chest would have neatly stowed their couture and household linens safely in its drawers.
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