American Decorative Arts

Chest of Drawers


Mahogany; drawer bottoms and backs, Atlantic white cedar; bottom and back of case, drawer sides, yellow poplar; some blocks, eastern white pine

31 1/2 x 33 3/4 x 20 7/8 in. (80 x 85.7 x 53 cm) other (Case): 31 9/16 x 17 7/8 in.(80.2 x 45.4 cm)
Mabel Brady Garvan Collection
18th century
Made in Boston, Massachusetts
Not on view

According to a tradition which probably, but not conclusively applies to this object, and which in any even remains unconfirmed, this chest was owned originally by the Reverend Samuel Johnson (1696-1772) of Guilford, Conn. It is said to have passed to his son, William Samuel Johnson (1727-1819); then to his daughter Sarah Elizabeth Johnson Devereaux; to her daughter Georgia Pollak Devereaux Townsend, Albany, N.Y.; and then to her cousin Katherine Devereaux Blake. Blake sold it in 1924 to dealer Willoughby Farr of Edgewater, N.J., who in turn sold it to Francis P. Garvan, New York Gift 1930 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Margaretta M. Lovell, “The Blockfront: Its Development in Boston, Newport, and Connecticut,” Fine Woodworking (July–August 1980): 45, fig. 1.

Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 123, 140–41, no. 61, ill.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.