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Chest of Drawers

Alexander, Amos __Possibly by
Place Made:
Mecklenburg County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut –light wood inlay –yellow pine
HOA; 54 5/8″
WOA: 32″ at feet
DOA: 19 1/4″ at feet
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Petite chest of drawers: Five tiers of graduated drawers, the top one divided into two smaller drawers, also a small drawer in the pitched pediment flanked by applied ogee curved designs and inlaid with leaf designs and a compass rose; ogee bracket feet; quarter columns with only one flute.

GROUP: This chest of drawers is attributed to the same maker as MESDA’s miniature chest of drawers (Acc. 5594.2) on the basis of its heavy banded inlay, dovetailing, and particularly the foot shape and construction. The back foot consists of two back boards, one an extension of the backboard and the other of the same shape, dovetailed into the side back feet. All pieces in this group have the same inner foot profile and the same back foot construction. The group consists of chests of drawers, one desk, and one corner cupboard.

MAKER: This chest of drawers with a pitched pediment was probably made in Mecklenburg County or a nearby region. Scrawled in pencil on the back of a drawer is the name John McCay. Someone in his family, perhaps one of his three daughters, could have been the owner. Living nearby the John McCay listed in the Mecklenburg County 1810 census was cabinetmaker Amos Alexander (son of well known Mecklenburg County resident Hezekiah Alexander), a potential maker of this piece. Characteristic of this maker’s work are the lunetted inlaid heavy bands, in this case surrounding the drawer pulls, and the ogee bracket feet with exposed dovetails on the side. However, the pitched pediment with applied scrolls, inlaid decoration, and arched drawer makes this a singular object. Research is ongoing concerning the maker of this piece and others related to it. It is also possible that a member of the Stikeleather family of Cabarrus County was responsible for this group rather than Amos Alexander. Stay tuned.

Credit Line:
Gift of Charlotte & Philip Hanes. In honor of Tom Gray and his multiple contributions to MESDA & Old Salem.