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Chest on reconstructed base

Odessa, Delaware



Probably John Janvier Sr. (1749–1801)


58 1/2 in x 42 1/4 in x 22 in


Mahogany; tulip poplar (drawer sides and backs, three-quarter dustboards), white cedar (drawer bottoms, upper case top and bottom boards, strips in front of dustboards), sweet gum (also called red gum) or tulip poplar (upper case backboards), hard pine (drawer guides)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation

Accession Number



“Wm. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA, DELAWARE 1772” is stamped into a metal tag on the upper right corner of the upper case back.

Condition Notes

Brasses are replacements and several drawer fronts exhibit minor repairs.  For additional condition matters, see the discussion below.


The chest descended in the William Corbit family through Sara Corbit Levis to Mary Corbit Crowe to her niece Sara Corbit Reese Pryor, from whom it was acquired in trade.


This fragmentary piece of furniture contributes significantly to an understanding of the Janvier furniture makers, William Corbit, and late 18th century life in Odessa.  It has a reliable history of ownership in the Corbit family.  Physical features of the upper case of drawers affirms it was made by John Janvier Sr. or by one of his family members.  The lower section was made up in the early 20th century, and the thick board above the blind-fret carving of removable pediment is a replacement.  That said, the upper case demonstrates that Janvier made chest-on-chests (also called double chests), although none survive.  Moreover, the removable pediment, which resembles that on the Janvier desk and bookcase (acc. no. 1975.81), suggests that it originally had scrolls, finials, and pierced latticework, making it a grand and very stylish statement.


Sweeney, Grandeur, 113.

Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 83-84.