Illustrated FURNITURE Glossary .

Chest-on-chest
Also called a double chest or tallboy

Chest-on-chests, highboys,, and tall chests of drawers are among the most spectacular and interesting types of American furniture. Size alone draws attention to these pieces. They are often more than 7' tall, and have upper drawers that can often be reached only by standing on a stool or a chair.

The chest on chest was introduced early in the eighteenth century.

It consists of two chests of drawers mounted one atop the other. The design incorporates a bottom chest of three drawers upon which stands another case containing three long drawers, and two or three small drawers at the top. As they were frequently 6 feet tall, they were always massive pieces of furniture and often carried imposing cornices and pediments.

The finest of these pieces have decoration similar to that found on highboys.

The simpler, flat-topped chest-on-chests often have short bracket legs, while the more elaborate pieces, with bonnet tops or pediments, often have cabriole legs.

The chest-on-chest was produced in the Chippendale period.

Federal tall chests of drawers, chest-on-chests, and chest-on-frames are usually flat-topped and may have either turned Sheraton-style legs or plain bracket feet. Like many Federal pieces, they are often inlaid and veneered.

See also: Bombé


Examples from Buffalo:

Other examples:


Photos and their arrangement © 2005 Chuck LaChiusa
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