Rare Chippendale Candle Stand with Cabinet


New England, circa 1790
Walnut and white pine, original hardware, old finish
15 ½ x 16 x 24 ½ in.

This remarkable candle stand is unique in our experience. In the hands of an inspired and creative cabinetmaker working in the folk art tradition, the candle stand form has been almost completely reinvented. The square top sits above an upright rectangular cabinet section with a concave blocked door carved with a beautifully stylized scallop shell motif, the dovetailed bottom board of the cabinet is deeply beveled and continues to an abbreviated turned column raised on a tripod base of square contoured serpentine-shaped legs carved at the knees with a ridged design and ending in snake feet.

A possible origin in Eastern Connecticut is suggested by the inventiveness employed by its maker, the design of the scalloped shell. This type of shell is related to shells carved on two published tall case clocks attributed to the Stonington-Westerly area of Connecticut. The first is a tall clock attributed to a member of the Stillman family illustrated in Minor Myers, Jr. and Edgar deN. Mayhew, New London County Furniture (New London, CT, 1974), no. 85. The second is a tall clock illustrated in Skinner, Americana, October 27, 1990, lot 64, and cover illustration detail of shell carved door.

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