William Beakes III

As some of you know, the chest of drawers made by William Beakes III, inscribed “William Beakes 171? in white chalk on the interior of the proper left side, will be sold at auction January 22, 2022 when Sotheby’s sells the collection of William (Bill) K. du Pont. The chest has been published numerous times beginning in 1979. Sotheby’s entry for the chest lists its appearance in the literature including my posts discussing Beakes from March 23, 2021, and April 2, 2021. They cite its exhibition in Worldly Goods: The Arts of Early Pennsylvania 1680-1758 at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, October 10, 1999-January 2, 2000. The Beakes chest of drawers was also exhibited at Winterthur in 2014 in conjunction with the Winterthur Furniture Forum that focused on Philadelphia furniture. There was no catalogue for this exhibition, presumably why it was not cited by Sotheby’s. 

It is very difficult to photograph the chalk inscription due to its location. Here is a selection of my images of the chest from 2014 before it was installed in the Winterthur gallery.

2 thoughts on “William Beakes III

  1. Your photos are much better than Sotheby’s, you can clearly see the date with the last numeral covered by the dust board.

    • Sotheby’s had a limited number of photos they could include for an object I suspect and they at least gave the context of the inscription on the interior side. It does take multiple photos to see the entire inscription though. It’s quite moving in person. Large but hidden, we’ll never know the motif for doing this.

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