Antique Connecticut River Valley Highboy Base Circa 1760 - 1790
Cherry with White Pine Secondary
This dressing table is made from the base of a tall chest. The top is made from antique cherry boards and is a good match for the base. Although far removed from its original form, this is a very useful table, made with choice wood, also having an aged, rich color and finish, some family history, and possible cabinet maker marks.
The recent book Connecticut Valley Furniture: Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750-1800 by Thomas P. Kugelman and Alice K. Kugelman with Robert Lionetti, Connecticut Historical Society Museum, 2005, is a great source for information for this furniture form. Using this book to classify this chest would best match to the "Francis Group" and second best to the "Porter-Belden Group," groupings devised by historian Kevin Sweeney. The center drawer has a recessed, carved sunburst with convex, pointed rays. This drawer originally had a brass above the sunburst. The brasses on the flanking drawers are replaced. The area of the apron with the cyma curves (under the starburst) is recessed. The side skirts have the typical high center arch. The base originally had a long, single drawer above the three drawers. Two of the three drawers have period chalk initials "J B" on the outside backs. The third drawer back is covered by paper. Julius Barnard and Jonathan Birge are two cabinet makers discussed in the aforementioned book.
The backs of the two outside drawers also have some history: "A. F. Wildes Kittery Maine Apr. 15 - 1933 Purchased from Joseph Parsons, York - Maine / This came from the old Wentworth Family near Dover NH - They were cousins of the Portsmouth Family - And the founder of the Went - Inst Boston."