National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Highboy Highboy
Rendered by Leonard Battee (artist), c. 1939
watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 55.5 x 36.4 cm (21 7/8 x 14 5/16 in.) Original IAD Object: 87"high; 39"wide; 20"deep
Index of American Design
Not on View
From the Tour: Furniture from the Index of American Design
Object 10 of 26

As the popular William and Mary forms were refined to meet new demands for elegant furniture, another style evolved, named after Queen Anne, who ruled England from 1702 to 1714. American Queen Anne furniture was produced from the 1720s until about 1750 and is characterized by delicate lines, slender proportions, graceful S-curves, and handsomely carved woods. Walnut was the favored wood, but mahogany imported from the West Indies, native American cherry, and maple were also used. Jappaning continued to be popular, but natural wood, richly figured and carved, was extremely fashionable. During the Queen Anne period in America, the highboy attained its characteristic form. This highboy, made of curly maple, is surmounted by a scrolled pediment with a broken arch, called a bonnet top, a consistent feature of the highboy form. Three finials, vigorously carved in a flame design, echo the sweeping curves of the bonnet. The natural decorative quality of the figured wood is complemented by restrained shell carving on the middle drawers at both top and bottom of the case. The high chest stands on cabriole legs, that is, legs with broad outcurving knees tapering to slim incurved ankles, which spread into a pad foot. The cabriole leg was a distinctive feature developed in the Queen Anne period; its shape repeats the S-curve that dominated all Queen Anne design.

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