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Chest on chest

ca. 1775
Origin: America, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
OH:101"; OW:46 3/8"; OD:24"
Mahogany, tulip poplar, and white cedar
Acquired through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Rumford, II
Acc. No. 1983-292
Mahogany chest-on-chest in two sections; the lower case with three drawers flanked by fluted quarter columns, the case is supported on four ogee bracket feet, the upper case sets in an ogival molding attached to the lower case and has five rows of drawers; the upper row three divided drawers, the next row two divided drawers over three long graduated drawers, the drawers are flanked by fluted quarter columns; the drawers of the upper and lower case sections are fronted by superbly figured crotch mahogany grain and are formed from the solid; the drawers retain the original fire gilded brasses with richly chased back plates and molded bales, a fretted frieze surmounts the top row of drawers, the broken arch top sets on a dentil molding with dentils following the line of the cyma-shaped arch; the arched moldings end in rococo carved three dimensional capitals with scrolled volutes in silhouette, the arched moldings enclose fret-carved scrollboard, the fret-carved from the solid; the superb original carved cartouche formed of a fluted vase with handles with flowers is supported on a plinth with fret carved facade.
Label:Thomas Affleck, a Scottish-born cabinetmaker who trained in Edinburgh and London, made this chest-on-chest for Philadelphia merchant David Deschler in 1775. This piece, which features a delicate fretwork pediment, ornately carved rosettes and cartouche, highly figured mahogany drawer fronts, and original gilded rococo brasses, represents some of the finest late eighteenth-century Philadelphia craftsmanship.

Unlike New England residents, Philadelphians favored a pediment with delicate pierced latticework rather than a solid broken-scroll bonnet.
Provenance:Made by Thomas Affleck for David Deshler in 1775, the chest descended in an unbroken chain through the Deshler, Roberts, Canby, and Rumford familes of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, until its acquisition by Colonial Williamsburg through the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis B. Rumford, II.

Purchased by David Deshler in 1775 for his daughter Catherine (1752-1837). Catherine married Robert Roberts 4/6/1775. The chest descended to her daughter Ester Morton Roberts (1785-1876). Ester passed the piece to her newphew, Samuel Canby (1811-1875), son of Elizabeth Roberts and James Canby of Wilmington, DE. Samuel's daughter Elizabeth Canby Rumford (1848-1933) inherited the chest. She passed it to her grandson Lewis Rumford II (b.1905).
Inscription(s):Signed by various owners including "Catherine Roberts/ April 5th/1814" in pencil on the top of the bottom case.
Chalk inscription (not legible) on the bottom of the top case.

On inside of second row drawer in ink "This chest of drawers was given by David Deshler/ to his daughter Catherine on her marriage to Robret Roberts/ in 1775. At her death to her daughter Ester Morton Roberts, to/ her nephew Samuel Canby, to his daughter Elizabeth/ Canby Rumford, to Samuel Canby Rumford to his/ son Lewis Rumford II 1933."

On the inside of the same drawer, ink on paper attached to drawer "This chest of drawers was given by David Deshler to his dauther Catherine/ on her marriage to Robert Roberts/ in 1775./ At her death it went to her daughter Ester Morton Roberts. Then to her nephew Samuel Canby and/ is now in posession of his daughter Elizabeth Canby Rumford in 1877."