The extraordinary Hovey-Wadsworth Family joined oak and pine "Hadley" chest with single drawer Massachusetts early 18th century

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Lot 901W
The extraordinary Hovey-Wadsworth Family joined oak and pine "Hadley" chest with single drawer
Massachusetts
early 18th century

Sold for US$ 30,000 inc. premium

The Elegant Home

15 Nov 2016, 10:00 PST

Los Angeles

The extraordinary Hovey-Wadsworth Family joined oak and pine "Hadley" chest with single drawer
Massachusetts
early 18th century
height 33in (84cm); width 46in (117cm); depth 20 1/4in (51.5cm)

Footnotes

  • The Hovey-Wadsworth Family Carved Oak "Hadley" Chest with Drawer
    Connecticut River Valley, circa 1706

    This chest, boldly initialed "IH" amidst profusely scrolled and lush tulip-and-leaf carving, is a wonderful example of the large and iconic group of as many as 250 pieces of similarly decorated joined furniture (consisting mainly of blanket chests with drawers as in this example but also including boxes, tables, chests without drawers or with two or more drawers, cupboards and a settle1) made in the Connecticut River Valley between 1680 and 1730. There is perhaps no form of early American furniture more recognizable than this group, of which this chest is a very fine and well-documented example.

    The chests of this type have been exhaustively published, initially by the Reverend Clair Franklin Luther in his 1935 seminal work The Hadley Chest, in which this example was recorded. The group has been subsequently researched by Patricia E. Kane2, Philip M. Zea3, and Suzanne L Flynt4. Nearly 60 examples demonstrate variations on the flat tulip, leaves and scrolls depicted here; it was Kane who termed this the "Hadley motif," and identified several unique sub-groups distinguished by the patterns of scrolls. Based on her classification, the chest offered here is an example of the "Leaf with Scrolls Type", Group 3, and sub-group A with those having opposed scrolls. The pinwheel decoration on the center of the bottom rail is a relatively common motif seen on several chests, both within the same group and in other groups but it is the profusion of scrolls in the center of the drawer that is considerably more unusual and appears to relate only to a chest made possibly for the Perkins family, illustrated as cat. no. 64 in Luther.

    Joanna Hovey was the third daughter of thirteen children born to Lt. Thomas Hovey (1648-1739) and Sarah Cook (b. 1662), of Hadley, Massachusetts. Though born in Quabog (now Brookfield, Massachusetts), Lt. Hovey moved to Hadley around 1672 and was a yeoman and prominent man, serving as representative to the general court in 1699 and 1703. Joanna was married at the time of her father's death and is remembered in his will, in which she received "Item I Giue (sp) and Bequeth to by Dafr Johanah wodsworth: Including the thurty pounds fhe hes alredy had: a fingel fhear or portion out of the Eftate (as afforefd) to be paid Her In Six years after my Deceas."

    In 1706, Joanna married Joseph Wadsworth Jr. (1682-1778), the son of Elizabeth Talcott and Captain Joseph Wadsworth. Captain Wadsworth is perhaps best known for reputedly hiding in 1687 the Royal Charter of 1662 in the Charter Oak in an attempt at preventing it from being seized by Sir Edmund Andros, the newly appointed governor-general. The Wadsworth family was one of the settling families in Hartford and remained prominent there well into the 20th century, with the site of American artist Daniel Wadsworth's home becoming the site of the Wadsworth Atheneum, built by AJ Davis between 1842 and 1844.

    For additional biographical information on these two early Connecticut River families, see The Hovey Book, describing The English Ancestry and American Descendents of Daniel Hovey of Ipswich, Massachusetts, Compiled and Published under the Auspices of the Daniel Hovey Association, with an Introductory Chapter by the President, Haverhill, MA: Press of Lewis R. Hovey, 1913, pp. 25-29; and Mary Jane (Fry) Wadsworth, The Wadsworth Family in America 1632-1977, Wilmington, Ohio: Wadsworth, 1978.

    Literature
    Illustrated in Clair Franklin Luther, "The Hadley Chest," Hartford, Connecticut: The Case, Lockwood & Brainard Company, 1935, cat. no. 39, p. 89.

    Cited but not illustrated in Patricia E. Kane, "The Seventeenth-Century Furniture of the Connecticut River Valley: The Hadley Chest Reappraised," Arts of the Anglo-American Community in the Seventeenth Century, A Winterthur Conference Report, ed. Ian M.G. Quimby (Charlottesville VA: University Press of Virginia, 1974), p. 112.

    Provenance
    Made for Joanna Hovey, (1684-1762), married 1706 to Joseph Wadsworth, Jr., (1682-1778)
    Thence by descent, to:
    William Wadsworth, son, (1723-1771), married 1751 to Mary Cook (1725-1811);
    Roger Wadsworth, son, (1756-1810), married 1777 to Ann Prior (1756-1843);
    Mary Wadsworth, daughter, (b. 1779), married 1798 to James Church;
    Frances Church, daughter, (1814-1897), married 1835 to Roswell Blodgett (1807-1875);
    Anna Blodgett, daughter, (1836-1925), married 1880 to Frederick A. Francis, (1830-1887)
    Sold to R.H. Cole in 1918
    Thence by descent in the family of R.H. Cole, to his granddaughter, Alice Poinier

    ______________________________________________
    1 Philip Zea and Suzanne L. Flynt, Hadley Chests, Exhibition catalog, Israel Sack (New York), Wadsworth Atheneum (Hartford, CT) and Memorial Hall (Deerfield, MA), 1992.
    2 Patricia E. Kane, "The Seventeenth-Century Furniture of the Connecticut River Valley: The Hadley Chest Reappraised," Arts of the Anglo-American Community in the Seventeenth Century, A Winterthur Conference Report, ed. Ian M.G. Quimby (Charlottesville VA: University Press of Virginia, 1974)
    3 Philip Zea, "The Fruits of Oligarchy: Patronage and joinery in Western Massachusetts, 1630-1730." Master's thesis, University of Delaware, 1984; and "The Fruits of Oligarchy: Patronage and the Hadley Chest Tradition in Western Massachusetts," New England Furniture: Essays in Memory of Benno M. Forman, special issue of Old Time New England (no. 72), Boston, 1987, pp. 1-65.
    4 Zea and Flynt, ibid.

    With grateful thanks to Madelia Hickman Ring for her assistance in researching this lot.
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The extraordinary Hovey-Wadsworth Family joined oak and pine "Hadley" chest with single drawer Massachusetts early 18th century
The extraordinary Hovey-Wadsworth Family joined oak and pine "Hadley" chest with single drawer Massachusetts early 18th century
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