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American Decorative Arts
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Photo credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art
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Maker: John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809

High Chest of Drawers

1759

Mahogany; drawer linings, mixture of chestnut, eastern white pine, and cottonwood (upper case: sides and backs, cottonwood; bottoms, chestnut; wide drawer in lower case: sides, cottonwood; back and bottom, chestnut; lower side drawers in lower case: sides and backs, chestnut; bottoms, eastern white pine; middle drawer in lower case: sides, cottonwood; back and bottom, eastern white pine); eastern white pine; chestnut; replaced cleats on bottom of upper case, southern yellow pine

88 7/8 × 39 7/16 × 22 1/8 in. (225.7 × 100.1 × 56.2 cm)
other (Upper case): 19 7/16 × 36 15/16 in. (49.4 × 93.8 cm)
other (Lower case): 38 3/4 × 20 11/16 in. (98.5 × 52.6 cm)
Bequest of Doris M. Brixey
1984.32.26
Geography: 
Made in Newport, Rhode Island
Culture: 
American
Period: 
18th century
Classification: 
Furniture
Provenance: 

Richard DeWolfe Brixey (1880-1943); by descent to his daughter Doris M. Brixey. Bequest in 1984 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.

Bibliography: 

Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 39 (Winter 1986): 40.

Girl Scouts of the United States of America, Loan Exhibition of Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Century Furniture and Glass, exh. cat. (New York: Lent & Graff Company, 1929), no. 659.

Loan Exhibition of Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Furniture and Glass, exh. cat. (New York: American Art Galleries, 1929), n.p., no. 659, ill.

Walter A. Dyer, “The American Highboy: Chippendale; An Outline of American Furniture, Part II,” Antiquarian 17, no. 1 (July 1931): 37.

Liza Moses and Michael Moses, “Authenticating John Townsend’s and John Goddard’s Queen Anne and Chippendale Tables,” Antiques 121, no. 5 (May 1982): fig. 3.99a–e.

Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 144, 177, fig. 3.99, 3.99a–e.

“Made by John Towsend: Signature Discovered on High Chest of Drawers at Yale Univerity Art Gallery,” Antiques and the Arts Weekly (January 4, 1985): 1, ill.

Eleanor H. Gustafson, “Museum Accessions,” Antiques 127, no. 1 (January 1985): 133.

Lita Solis-Cohen, “review of “Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards,” by Michael Moses,” Maine Antique Digest (January 1985): 16B, ill.

Alice K. Kugelman, “Tall Story: The Case of the Missing Highboy,” The Hartford Courant (January 13, 1985): n.p., ill.

“Acquisitions 1984,” Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin 39, no. 3 (Winter 1986): 40, 76, ill.

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), 265–68, no. 140.

Peter Hawes, A Great Panorama Celebrating Twenty-five Years of American Art at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1998), 45, ill.

Gerald W. R. Ward, “”America’s Contribution to Craftsmanship”: The Exaltation and Interpretation of Newport Furniture,” American Furniture (1999): 236–37, fig. 8.

Dennis Andrew Carr, “The Account Book of Benjamin Baker,” American Furniture (2004): 49, 51, fig. 6–7.

Robert Hughes, “Claw Daddy,” New York Times Magazine (2005): 53, ill.

Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 90–91, fig. 8.

Patricia E. Kane, “Object Lesson: A High Point of Americana,” Yale Alumni Magazine 74, no. 4 (March/April 2011): 58, ill.

Sotheby’s, New York, The Exceptional Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Arnold Mahogany High Chest, sale cat. (January 21, 2012), 12–13, fig. 2.

Erik K. Gronning and Amy Coes, “The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition,” American Furniture (2013): 34–35, fig. 76–78.

Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 64n102, 453.

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.