Chippendale Carved Cherry Chest-on-Chest, probably Granby, Connecticut, 1802, the top section with pierced scrolled pediment centering an asymmetrical carved cartouche on a reeded plinth, all flanked by plinths and turned finials, above a case of five scratch-beaded graduated drawers, set into the lower section of four graduated drawers, all flanked by reeded quarter columns, on an ogee bracket base with gadrooned front edge, ht. 81. case wd. 41, dp. 17 1/4 in.
Hannah Forward and Horace Clark, 1802.
Samuel A. Clark, after 1882.
Malcolm A. Norton, Hartford, Connecticut, in 1917.
Russell S. Carter Hewlett, Long Island, in 1938.
Purchased by the present consignor's mother at Parke-Bernet Galleries, October 1964, lot 401.
Note: The present lot has a partial note on the backboard of the upper section, written after 1882, reading, "This has been in the possession of Samuel A. Clark of Granby," and includes a reference to a "Dr. Charles..." Several further notes appear inside the piece, helping to document its history quite closely. These include two notes (and a catalogue page) which are affixed to the interior backboards of the top section. In chronological order, the first, dated 1909, is presumably by a member of the Clark Family. The note indicates that the chest was made by Samuel Furgarson of East Granby, Connecticut, as part of Hannah Forward's dowry upon her marriage to Horace Clark. It reads in part "Hannah Forward… died in 1882 at the age of 97 yrs - since her death this has been in the possession of Samuel A. Clark of East Granby Ct. The chest is 107 years old." The second note, on the letterhead of Russell S. Carter, of Hewlett, Long Island, is dated 1939. It indicates that Mr. Carter purchased the chest-on-chest from Malcolm A. Norton, of East Hartford, Connecticut, in 1938. In his note, Mr. Carter writes "It is interesting to note that the fret insert in the scroll top is composed from the initials of the bride + groom H.E. and C. Apparently, the central pierced finial symbolizes entwined hearts on the altar of love." The catalogue page that has been pasted next to these notes is presumably the Parke-Bernet sale catalogue featuring the chest-on-chest from the Garvan Collection which is now at Yale. On it is written in pen "This is the chest Garvan bought for 3500 & supposed to be the duplicate of yours & one of the same house is now in the Yale Museum."
Two further notes are found inside a drawer in the top section. The first, previously affixed to the interior bottom of the fourth drawer down in the top section, reads in part "sold [to]… [indecipherable name, possibly Wooster] of Tariffville, Ct [a census-recognized neighborhood of Simsbury] in 1909, who sold it to Malcolm A. Norton of Hartford Ct June 1917." On the inside right of the same drawer, another note reads "Hannah Forward was one of the ancestors of the Clark family and the daughter of the man who built the old Clark house in East Granby Connecticut torn down by Francis P. Garvan of Roslyn, Long Island. Old Mr and Mrs Clark gave me the following facts. In 1803, she had two chest on chests and two desks made by a Mark Wilcox of West Granby a cabinet maker of those old days. One of the chest on chests went to Yale College the other now is the property of Russell Carter of Willetts [sic], Long Island. July 30, 1938 Malcolm A. Norton."
After the appearance of the present lot at the 1964 auction in New York, much was written about it, at least from the standpoint of scholarship. A file of the letters, written to and from the purchaser in 1964, is available for review.
Literature: In discussing an identical chest-on-chest, Kugelman and Kugelman write, in Connecticut Valley Furniture: Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, "this is one of two identical chest-on-chests that were, according to family tradition, made for the November 15, 1802, marriage of Granby [Connecticut] residents Hannah Forward (1785-1882) and Horace Clark (1782-1842). At his death Horace's estate included '2 Chests and drawers' valued at $10," pp. 348-49. The chest discussed in Kugelman's book is part of the Mabel Brady Garvan Collection, at Yale University, and is the same chest referenced in many of the notes found inside the case. That sister chest to the current lot is also discussed in Gerald W.R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan Collection and Other Collections at Yale University, (Yale University Press, 1988), catalogue number 86, pp. 182-184. Scholarship is currently undecided as to the chests' maker.
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