There's wooden cabinetry, and then there's Federal cabinetry made by Salem, Massachusetts, cabinetmaker William Hook. This piece, appraised by Andrew Holter at the Detroit ROADSHOW event in 2013 for an auction estimate of $5,000 to $8,000, showed signs of Hook's mastery in the water-leaf carving on the tops of the colonettes, as well as the reeded legs. "At the top, you see these wonderful outset corners with turned roundels," Holter described, "and then it continues to this great molding … with this kind of rope-form beading" — more details that can be attributed to Hook.
Not Your Average Cabinet
This piece, dating from around 1810 and featuring mahogany, rosewood and birchwood, stands out in particular because of the light and dark panels creating the sunburst effect. "It's really a tour de force of cabinetmaking," Holter said. "It's all about this wonderful sunburst. If this was just a bowfront chest of drawers, you'd be looking at about a $1,000 chest." In researching the chest, Holter discovered that a very similar piece existed in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
A Sunburst at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
This cabinet was made for Hook's sister, Hannah Hook Folsom, in about 1808, and is currently in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Note that this piece also has the special sunburst and leg details as seen in the piece Holter appraised in Detroit.