Walnut, yellow pine
H: 39.5”; W: 39”; D: 23.5”
This chest represents an excellent example of the work of Winchester, Virginia artisans in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. The form of the chest is distinctly English in its origins as are specific design traits such as the bold ogee bracket feet, quarter column corners, sliding tray, molded drawer edges and brass hardware. The use of framed, mortised drawer supports in the case and the a top secured to the sides by a sliding dovetail joint are characteristic of the best Winchester case construction. Many of these features, along with the molded edges of the top, construction of the foot blocking and subframe, and materials relate to case furniture attributed to the Fry-Martin Shop, long regarded as the best of the Winchester School.
The chest has a history of descent in the Hoffman Family of Shenandoah County, which adjoins Frederick County. The Hoffmans were early settlers in the northern valley of Virginia and additional research may further illuminate the chest’s history of ownership and allow an attribution to a specific shop or artisan.
The chest is in outstanding condition, retaining its original bail and rosette brass pulls, and original feet and blocking. Significantly, it has done been refinished and retains a mellow old surface. The original lapped back boards were secured in vertically routed channels in the case sides. Shrinkage loosened the joints and at some point nails (modern rose head) were added to secure the back board.