European Silver, Furniture and Ceramics

European Silver, Furniture and Ceramics

View full screen - View 1 of Lot 25. A George II Walnut and Burr Walnut Chest, Circa 1730-40.

Property of a Private Connecticut Collector

A George II Walnut and Burr Walnut Chest, Circa 1730-40

Lot Closed

October 20, 06:24 PM GMT


50,000 - 80,000 USD

Lot Details


Property of a Private Connecticut Collector

A George II Walnut and Burr Walnut Chest, Circa 1730-40

the ovolo-moulded top with re-entrant corners, above a green baize-lined slide and two short drawers simulated as three drawers and three long graduated drawers, with carcase cockbeads; one side with a fitted pen drawer, the other with a simulated drawer, above brass carrying-handles; bracket feet later; veneer on the back apparently original

height 31 1/2 in.; width 34 in.; depth 19 1/2 in.

80 cm; 86.5 cm; 49.5 cm

R.F. Lambe, Esq., London

Christie's London, 29 November 1951, lot 134

Ronald A. Lee, London

Mrs. Charles Stuart

Christie's London, 1 April 1993, lot 105

The John Parry Collection, Christie's London, 24 March 2010, lot 38

A. Bowett, English Furniture 1715-1740, Woodbridge 2009, p.101, figs. 3:14, 3:15

Dr. Adam Bowett dates this high-quality commode to after 1730 because of the ovolo moulded top and base and cockbeaded surrounds to the carcase rather than to the drawer edges, whilst the thin-railed carcase construction would indicate a terminus ante quem of 1740. He also suggests the unusual presence of a side drawer fitted for inkwells and pounce pots provides evidence that the pull out 'brushing' slide beneath the top was in fact intended for writing - though observing this wouldn't preclude the chest from also being used as a dressing commode, the role this form has traditionally been assigned. Certainly the equally unusual veneering to the back enables the chest to stand proud of the wall in any interior, and made theoretically more portable with the side carrying handles, the chest would be able to serve multiple functions in different settings.

Evidence this model could be used a dressing table comes from a 1730 invoice from the royal cabinetmaker Benjamin Goodison for supplying King George II's daughters Amelia and Caroline at St James's Palace with 'three Wallnuttree Dressing Tables upon Castors with Large Drawers to the Bottoms and a Sliding Tables to each of them' (cited in Bowett, p.106 note 21). Thomas Sheraton, however, would later categorise the model as writing furniture, calling this type of chest a 'Lobby Chest' in his Cabinet Dictionary (1803): 'a kind of half chest of drawers, adapted for the use of a small study, lobby, or small lodging room...four drawers in height, rising to 3 feet in height, and their length about the same. The top drawer is usually divided into two; and sometimes there is a writing slider which draws out under the top.'

This chest's particularly fine walnut veneers and high standard of carcase construction have made it a prized acquisition of numerous previous owners throughout its history, more recently the leading 20th century London antiques dealer Ronald A. Lee and the great late-20th century walnut collector John Parry.