Rare Queen Anne Carved Walnut and Walnut Veneer High Chest of Drawers, attributed to Joseph Davis, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, c. 1735-50, with hidden drawer in cornice, brasses appear to be original, refinished, (restoration), ht. 80 3/4, wd. 43, overall dp. 24 3/4 in.
Provenance: Family descent within the Simes family of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. According to the consignor, who is a descendant of the Simes, the high chest was originally owned by John Wentworth (1737-1820), who was the British colonial governor of New Hampshire from 1767 to 1775. During the Revolution, fearing for his safety, he packed up his wife and infant son and fled, eventually ending up in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In 1792, Wentworth was appointed governor of Nova Scotia and served until 1808. In 1776, with outstanding debts still in Portsmouth, the city fathers decided to auction the contents of Wentworth's home. Members of the prominent Portsmouth mercantile family, the Simes, bought the high chest, with whom it has remained.
Literature: Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast, Brock Jobe, SPNEA, 1993, catalogue no. 17, p. 131 illustrates and discusses a dressing table with stylistic similarities attributed to Joseph Davis.
Note: Chalk inscription to inside right of case reads in part "Joseph..."
legs replaced at mid-knee, veneer on pediment replaced, shrinkage cracks to sides of case and veneer, drop pendants missing, finials replaced, some veneer patching.