The rectangular top with applied molding above chest having single drawer standing on applied bracket
feet joined by fabulous scalloped apron centering lobe. Wonderful dry early 19th century folk art painted
composition over original blue. Original snipe hinges, drawer pulls are not original. (Very good condition,
Top lightly cleaned of dirt; one small area of putty fill; one-third of proper right lid molding and side
molding restored; usual cracks to base commensurate with age and shrinkage.)
(width: 38”, depth: 15.5”, height 31”)
This example is particularly notable for its superior carving and remarkable
intact condition; including original top and till, moldings and applied turned
ornaments, and full-height feet. The surface appears to have never been degraded
or refreshed, other than with the application of a thin clear oil or finish over
the original “red bricking” earth pigment of the case and moldings.
The applied black turnings and linen fold moldings appear to have been
refreshed [surface only] in the late 19th century.
The single board cleated top with thumbnail molding at front and sides is attached with
original snipe-bill hinges; front framed with three panels above two superimposed
drawers. The center panel features three carved floral devices [sunflowers] and four tulips
issuing from a central stem against a matted ground; flanking panels display large tulips
having gouge-carved detail above leafy and floral devices against a matted ground. The side
panels are similarly framed and edged with applied moldings; at the top, an octagon created
with applied moldings…the corners filled with triangular pieces; the octagonal panel with
applied oval boss is centered by shadow moldings within the rail centers. The lower vertical
panels are flanking the shadow molded stile; bottom rail similarly treated. Back to the
front…The stiles feature applied split spindles; muntins with pairs of applied split
spindles; applied moldings on the upper, middle and lower drawer rails. The side hung
drawers are ornamented to appear as short-inline-drawers, applied moldings create
octagons which center the turned pulls; center of each drawer features a pair of applied
split spindles on applied panels with each drawer flanked by pairs of matching spindles.
Within the chest, on the right side is a lidded till; lid molded on front edge; stiles
are beveled on inside. The drawers are side hung on runners nailed to stiles. The applied
split spindles, moldings between drawers, bosses; triangular corners and rail moldings
are painted black. The case and applied moldings on drawers and panel edges are painted
red. Two back panels are sharply chamfered and fitted within back stiles and upper,
lower and middle rails.
Although there are perhaps three dozen survivors from the Blin workshop, most are
fragmentary, restored, or subject to considerable needed restoration. This present
example, nearly three hundred fifty years old, is notable for its full development
and remarkable intact condition. The applied elements re-attached with nails, screws
and glue but largely intact; vertical molding on proper right of one drawer cracked
and replaced; approximate one inch hole in backboard of chest at bottom, appears very
old; no sign of surface degrading; surface of black painted elements enhanced circa 1900;
partial replacement of wrought iron snipe hinges.
We believe it is most closely related to an example in the collection of Historic Deerfield,
which is in “as found” unrestored condition. A similar chest, with some questionable
divergence of detail, was sold at Christies, NY, January 21, 2011, Lot 64, and realized
three-hundred eighty-two thousand dollars.
This Sunflower Chest remains in a remarkable intact state of originality most likely because
it descended in a multigenerational family collection until 1981 and was then sold to a
well-known dealer of early furniture who placed it within a very good collection where it has
remained for nearly 40-years. The applied elements re-attached with nails, screws and glue but
largely intact; vertical molding on proper right of one drawer cracked and replaced; approximate
one inch hole in backboard of chest at bottom, appears very old; no sign of surface degrading;
surface of black painted elements enhanced circa 1900; partial replacement of wrought iron snipe hinges.
(Height: 41.25"; width: 48"; depth: 20.75")
Dean A. Fales, The Furniture of Historic Deerfield,
(New York, E.P. Dutton & Co., 1976), pp. 166-167.
Jonathan Fairbanks and Robert Trent New England Begins: Vol. 2 Mentality and Environment,
(Boston, MA: Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 1982), p.266-267.
Walter A. Dyer, The Tulip-and-Sunflower Press Cupboard, Magazine Antiques, (April 1935)
reprinted in Robert F. Trent edited Pilgrim Century Furniture,
(New York, Main Street/ Universe Books, 1976), pp. 122-125.
Philip Zea, The Great River: Art and Society of the Connecticut Valley, 1635-1820
(Hartford, CT, 1985), cats. 78, 79, pp. 198-201.
Susan Prendergast Schoelwer, Connecticut Sunflower Furniture: A Familiar Form Reconsidered,
Yale University Art Gallery Bulletin (Spring 1989), pp. 26-29.
Robert F. Trent entry, American Furniture with Related Decorative Arts,
1660-1830: The Milwaukee Art Museum and the Layton Art Collection,
(New York: Hudson Hill Press, 1991), pp. 37-39.
Gerald W.R. Ward, American Case Furniture,
(New Haven, CT: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988),
pp. 90-95, 379-385.
Martha H. Willoughby, From Carved to Painted: Chests of Central and
Coastal Connecticut, c. 1675-1725 (M.A. thesis, University of Delaware,
DE, 1994), pp. 14-76.
Joshua W. Lane and Donald P. White III, Fashioning Furniture and Framing
Communities: Woodworkers and the Rise of a Connecticut River Valley Town,
American Furniture 2005, ed. Luke Beckerdite,
(Milwaukee, WI: Chipstone Museum, 2005), pp. 146-238.
Frances Gruber Safford, American Furniture in the Metropolitan Museum of Art: I.
Early Colonial Period: The Seventeenth Century and William and Mary Styles
(New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2007), pp. 219-224.
Rob Tarule; Thinking in the Wood: Carving a Sunflower Chest,
New England Antiques Journal, (June 2008).
Three drawer blanket chest, the façade featuring two faux long drawers with thumb
molded edges over three conforming working drawers; molded top and base, raised on
lobed and shaped bracket feet. Excellent condition, one foot repaired.
(Height: 42.25"; width: 38"; depth: 18.5")
The lift-top with applied molded edge over a deep chest above two working drawers; the molded base
resting on cutout ogee feet. The Sheraton period drawer pulls are certainly later that the chest.
(Height: 47"; width: 38.25"; depth: 18.75")
The rectangular top with applied molding over a conforming case containing two thumb
molded overhanging drawers on a molded base raised on boldly profiled large bracket
feet. Drawers are of simple lap joinery secured with handmade “T” head nails.
(Height: 36.5"; width: 37.5"; depth: 17")
Rectangular molded lid over chest with two false-drawers over two working drawers raised on a molded base joined by a skirt featuring an amazing profile.
(H: 45”; W: 37”; D: 18.25”; any imperfections are minor, and commensurate with age and use; please call for full description and/or enthusiastic discussion.
Surface appears to be a wonderful later 18th century red wash over dark stain; the voids cut in the extensions of side-boards that form the feet are associated with board-chests produced in Plymouth County during the late 17th to early 18th centuries. See Robert Blair St. Gorges, The Wrought Covenant, pp. 33, 34, and 41. Intact structural condition; retaining original nailing schedule, “snipe-bill” hinges, lid, and internal cleats; H: 29.5"; W: 43.5"; D: 16". There was a long-ago beetle infestation, limited to bottom of lower backboard; absolutely not active. The lid with molded front edge and chamfered ends is slightly cupped.
Hinged rectangular top with applied molding above a conforming case having four false-front drawers (two faux short-drawers over two long-drawers), above a working long-drawer, with applied molding at base; the whole on tall arched cutout feet. The surface cleaned to reveal thinning and wonderful blue paint; brass hardware is replaced (each brass hiding a small wood dowel plugging later post apertures); bottoms of drawer sides slightly built-up adjusting use-wear, and smooth functioning. This attractive chest remains in generally very good condition; any minor imperfections are consistent with age. (H: 36"; W: 38"; D: 19.5")
The rectangular top with tapered and notched cleats over a deep-well above two working long-drawers retaining original turned wood pulls above tall cutout bracket feet; the sides featuring ogee foot profiles. (Height: 44", width: 39", depth: 18")
The rectangular lid with applied moldings retains its original snipe-hinges and is over a deep chest having a lidded till; the two long drawers never had pulls.
The case features a molded base and rests on cutout feet joined by a narrow apron.
The right proper front foot profile appears to have been partially restored very early in its working life; wood, tool marks and thinning pigment are consistent with upper half and other feet as if it was repaired by the maker. (38 by 19.5 by 44.5”)
The surface is partially over-varnished.
Dimensions: 47.5" H, 42" W, 17" D.
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