The Potts Family High Chest

The two previous posts illustrated images of the restored elements of Potts family high chest. Below are two images of original carving on the lower rail, legs, corner columns, and the shell drawer (the applied grasses on the drawer are Jesse Bair restorations).

lower rail

leg and column

Soon after the the high chest was purchased by the Schorsch’s in January 1999 I received an urgent call from Irvin Schorsch, Jr. Before the auction we had measured the height of the chest and the height of the room where the high chest would be placed if they were successful bidding. We knew the tolerance was close but believed it would fit. What I didn’t consider at the time was once the high chest was put together, extra height was needed to raise the cartouche with its bottom tenon above the plinth then lower it into the mortise for installation. There was no room to do that after the movers had set up the high chest at the Schorsch’s and now the mover were gone! A potential disaster heading my way.  I put a bag of tools together and headed out to the Schorsch’s wondering if I might have to cut a hole in the ceiling and re-plaster, all while standing on a ladder above the Potts high chest. Luckily that wasn’t necessary. I was able to re-work the metal and wood brackets on the back of the cartouche while also tilting the cartouche at more of angle out over the front of the chest. Jesse Bair had correctly given the cartouche a slight angle during his restoration but the angle you see in the photo below is my doing and is perhaps outside the range of angles seen on historic objects. I wonder if the new owner will notice?

Side view of cartouche angle

6 thoughts on “The Potts Family High Chest

  1. Chris – I must apologize for not complimenting you on your blog sooner. I really enjoy your posts and insights. There isn’t much out there that represents the conservator’s challenges and their accomplishments. Thanks for what you are doing.

    • Craig, Thanks for the kind words and good to hear from you. As you well know the restoration world can be a confidential and private arena to work in. But – been in it long enough now that it’s time to share the stories, get them out there, and get the dialogue going. Especially now that we have a relatively easy electronic way of doing so.

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