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High Chest of Drawers

Americanc. 1760-1800

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

The 1754 publication The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director by Thomas Chippendale profoundly affected the development of American furniture design. The Director was the first important book devoted entirely to cabinetry and as such instructed both English and American cabinetmakers in the richest expressions of the Rococo idiom.

In his preface Chippendale noted, “Of all the Arts which are either improved or ornamented by Architecture, that of CABINET-MAKING is not only the most useful and ornamental, but capable of receiving as great Assistance from it as any whatever…,” a stance that is ably translated in this imposing high chest, with its quarter columns, cornice, dentils, and scrolled pediment, elements evocative of an 18th-century door frame. A classic American manifestation is the marriage of the late Baroque and the Rococo. By the mid-18th century the form was deemed old-fashioned in England, but in the colonies it persisted and reached its apogee in Philadelphia.

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  • Title: High Chest of Drawers
  • Creator: American
  • Date Created: c. 1760-1800
  • Physical Dimensions: w118.1 x h239.7 x d77.8 cm (overall)
  • Type: Furniture
  • External Link: MFAH
  • Medium: Mahogany, brass; Atlantic white cedar, cedar, mahogany, southern yellow pine, yellow poplar
  • Credit Line: The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

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