Before Ulysses Davis became a barber he provided for his family by restoring and repairing furniture and antiques. The repair shop that he built was on the spot where he later built Davis Barbershop. He was a Master Barber, and so licensed by the state. The skills he learned restoring furniture aided him in his art. The ”secret” finish that he put on his carvings, he called his “antique finish.”
This chest exemplifies some of Ulysses defining character traits, a genuine, quiet, gentleness. Its size was dictated by the scale of the shotgun house.
Living in Savannah, a conservative English formal city, he would have worked on countless Hepplewhite and Empire chests. He incorporated these details in this design. The flowing early skirt and the deep top drawer that he created to make the single top drawer appear as 2 by scoring a center divide and centering the pulls in each. He also used a wider projecting molding underneath the top drawer – common to Empire chests. Additionally, he created figured maple out of yellow heart pine with faux graining. He salvaged elements such as the yellow pine, dovetailed drawer frames. He decorated the chest with carved moldings of raised circles – the same elements he used in making wood jewelry.
The plastic drawer guides were added later because of substantial wear to the original drawer slides.
Materials: Panelling, plywood, yellow pine, fiberboard, hardware cloth, plastic.
Date: Built 1940s.
Origin: Purchased from Ulysses Davis estate.
Condition: The chest is in good condition with some signs of wear. The joints are tight. Loose molding and back, chips to base on both sides, white clouds on top. Nice patina. Extremely easy repairs.
Please see photos as they are an integral part of the condition report and ask any questions that you have about the item so that we can satisfy you.
Provenance: Purchased from Ulysses Davis’s daughter a couple of years after he passed.
Maker: Ulysses Davis
About Us: Southern Picker Antiques in Darien, GA. is open by appointment. My partner, John and I, for 40+ consecutive years, have never lost our enthusiasm for inspiring objects and art. Without art, there would be a whole lot of days I’d just stay in bed! Google: James Allen Southern Picker NYTimes to read a profile about us.