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Antique Chippendale Style Mahogany Shell Carved Highboy on Ball & Claw Feet

Antique Chippendale Style Mahogany Shell Carved Highboy on Ball & Claw Feet

Regular price $3,850.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,850.00 USD
Sale Sold out

With our highest compliments Bay Colony Antiques takes the utmost pleasure in offering this magnificent and commanding two piece highboy constructed in the iconic American Chippendale design. As we have traveled the country in pursuit of the finest traditional antique furniture we have come to appreciate the unique sophistication of the Northeastern region of the country as the richest source of continually made masterpiece quality furniture throughout the past three centuries. This cultural heritage of producing the most superior designed works reached its pinnacle in the years preceding the American Great Depression in what is often designated as the 1920's custom design movement. In this era before the rise of major furniture factories and modernized mass production the best patrons of art and fine craftsmanship belonged to regional tradesmen who served their market through custom ordered furniture which often required special attention to detail and particular focus on the tastes of their client base. This practice led to an era of traditionally inspired furniture produced in the same manner as the colonial tradesmen had constructed a century and a half before while providing the patrons who commissioned these furnishings with all the benefits and conveniences of their day. A century later we are left with a design wave which pays respect to the very finest aspects of the 18th century while also standing apart from everything which came before as the custom design movement of the 1920's produced unique heirlooms not found anywhere since.

This commanding two piece highboy is closely associated by design with the masterpieces produced in the Boston, Massachusetts area in the late 1700's. Upon taking ownership of this highboy we had assumed it to be the artistic labor of a cabinetmaker working in Boston or the surrounding area in the early decades of the 20th century. This assumption is due in part to the quality of the highboy and regional interpretation of the Chippendale style which is so closely associated with the Boston area. Elements such as the style of the ball & claw feet are near identical with how a Boston highboy of the 18th century would have been fashioned. After examining the case and all other details we were struck by the presence of locks from Terryville, Connecticut which would be out of place on a highboy made in the city of Boston where furniture locks made locally could be regularly found. This detail made us conclude that this highboy is most likely the work of Nathan Margolis, a renowned furniture master from Hartford, Connecticut, who's work we frequently collect and are quite found of. The distinction is important as this highboy is of the highest order and quality and displays the hand of master carvers and cabinet makers alike who were experienced in the regional style. It is common for custom ordered furniture to not have any signatures as the patron commissioning the furniture had no confusion as to who the maker was and identifying the piece for posterity was generally an afterthought.

The top of the highboy features a broken arch pediment comprised of two gooseneck molded elements with spiralized carved rosettes and three flame finials mounted to plinth blocks with the central finial seated above a carved plume motif. The upper chest of this highboy is built with an arrangement of three top drawers over two short drawers over three drawers which span the length of the case. The top central drawer has a lavishly carved shell deeply carved into the drawer face which is mirrored by the short drawer located in the bottom center of the base section. The sophistication of both design and carving indicates that a master furniture carver was employed in the completion of this masterpiece highboy. The top section of the highboy sits into the frame provided by the lower half which is secured by the waist molding which contours around the base of the top section. The lower section is arranged with a single long drawer over three short drawers. Every drawer besides the two shell carved drawers are fitted with Chippendale bat-wing brass backplates and pulls which are faceted and not stamped as most lesser quality brass pulls tend to be. The lower case features an additional shell carved design which mirrors the plume carved element on the top center and the case is scrolled and profiled with exceptional detail. The highboy is supported by masterful cabriole legs and spectacular carved ball & claw feet with shell carvings adorned upon the knees of each leg in remarkable detail. The highboy is 44" long across the front at the widest point where the knees protrude and 23 1/2" deep at the widest point from front to back also at the protruding section of the legs. The highboy stands a commanding 90 1/2" tall at the absolute tallest point which is the central finial. We respectfully ask that the purchaser consider the height of their ceiling before committing to purchase. This highboy can be easily accommodated in most household interiors we only say this in an abundance of caution as we have clients with 18th century properties with ceilings lower than the common heights of modern households.


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