High Chest of Drawers
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Materials: mahogany; yellow pine
Dimensions: 194.3 x 112.3 x 61 (76 1/2 x 44 1/4 x 24 in.)
Location: North Square Room
Provenance: Elizabeth House Trist; by purchase or gift to Martha Jefferson Randolph; by descent to Frances Maury Burke; by purchase of the Washington Committee; by gift to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1926
Accession Number: 1926-3
Historical Notes: This simple high chest of drawers was made in Philadelphia for a member of the House family, the keepers of the boardinghouse in Philadelphia where Jefferson sometimes lodged. The chest became the property of Eliza House, a friend of Jefferson's, who was later nicknamed "Grandmama Trist" by her family. Miss House married Nicholas Trist, who with his brother, Hore Browse Trist, was a leader of the Royal Irish Regiment at the battle of Bunker's Hill. Mrs. Trist's grandson Nicholas Philip Trist married Jefferson's granddaughter Virginia. Jefferson had persuaded Trist's parents, Mary Brown and Hore Browse Trist to settle in Albemarle County, where they lived at Birdwood, until Jefferson appointed Hore Browse Trist collector of the port of New Orleans.
The chest is in two parts. The upper case, with a flat top, has a molded cornice with chamfered corners and stop fluted pilasters along the chamfered front corners. There are eight graduated drawers. The lower case has five drawers and fluted pilasters on the chamfered front corners. A carved shell embellishes the knees of the cabriole legs terminating in slipper feet.