Referred to as a “swelled” front in the eighteenth century, the blocked façade was a distinct regional preference in New England, particularly in the cabinetmaking centers of Colonial Boston and Newport. With its squared façade, four drawers, and straight bracket feet, this chest is an accomplished example of the form as interpreted in the Boston area. The flat-face blocking with rounded ends is typical of block front furniture from Boston. The conforming, overhanging case top, base blocked at the ogival molding and continuing to the front brackets with ogival outlines integrates the design.
A similar blockfront chest with a history in the Cushing family of Newburyport, Massachusetts is illustrated in American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, Volume II, no. 1121, p. 449. Another in the collection of Winterthur Museum descended through five generations of the Selfridge family of Rhode Island.1
1 See Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, 1997, no, 176, pp. 357-8.
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