With our absolute highest compliments Bay Colony Antiques takes the utmost pleasure in offering one of the rarest grain painted American chests of drawers that we have ever handled. Our passion for American grain painted furniture was ignited many years ago when we purchased an entire estate of New England antiques that was an untouched time capsule of the finest painted furniture available anywhere in America. We primarily have handled the high style 18th century colonial furniture of the largest port cities of Boston, Salem, Newport, Portsmouth, and surrounding areas or earlier pieces in simplistic varnish or paint washed surfaces. The estates we routinely encountered would from time to time have fun grain painted items among the entirety of the vast number of antiques and fine art and we had been aware of what leading auction houses and dealers would report their antique painted furniture selling for but it was that one remarkable estate that led to a lifelong passion of pursuing the finest grain painted antiques throughout America. It is that very passion which led us to purchase this remarkable chest from an equally passionate collector in Virginia and for us to bring it back to New England so that we may offer it our cliental.
The chest of drawers is constructed in a four over three drawer configuration with the lower three drawers being graduated in height from shortest to tallest. Each drawer is accented by cockbead molding around the drawer faces and a diamond inlaid escutcheon above each knob. The drawers are flanked by turned half columns that are broken up by turned ringlets throughout the length of each column. The chest is supported by empire ogee elephant form feet that were prevalent in American furniture design during the empire period throughout the second and third quarters of the 19th century. The chest is painted with a spectacular mustard paint surface with a darker paint surface applied over a lighter mustard paint. These two layers of paint are revealed with a comb decoration technique where the artisan used a metal comb and with a tight squiggle technique scratched through the outer paint layer to reveal the lighter color underneath. This particular technique is found on some of the finest grain painted surfaces ever produced in America. The interior drawer boxes and backboards and constructed in a primitive manner very indicative of American country furniture made by skilled craftsman who did not work in the tradition of larger populated cities. We note the chest was expertly cut in half at one point and joined back together. During the 19th centuries this was not uncommon on heavier cased furniture sometimes to allow the piece to be transported by covered wagons or brought inside an interior which it may not otherwise have fit into. We absolutely enjoy having this piece in our collection however it is our hope to find a wonderful home for this remarkable chest where it will see many years of use and be well cared for as it has been since the original owner painted it a century and a half ago. This chest is a unique specimen that will provide its next owner with plenty of storage and a remarkable stately appearance that becomes more valuable as time passes. The chest measures 50 1/2" wide x 20 1/4" deep x 50 1/4" tall.