• Three Woods: A Passion for Wal auction at Christies

    Sale 7909

    Three Woods: A Passion for Walnut, Oak & Yew The John Parry Collection

    25 March 2010, London, King Street

  • Lot 60

    A GEORGE II BURR-ELM BACHELOR'S CHEST

    NORTH COUNTRY, CIRCA 1730

    Price Realised  

    A GEORGE II BURR-ELM BACHELOR'S CHEST
    NORTH COUNTRY, CIRCA 1730
    The rectangular caddy-moulded hinged top veneered in four sections enclosing a veneered interior above four graduated drawers between canted fluted angles, on bracket feet, minor restorations to feet, metalwork original
    31 in. (78.5 cm.) high; 30½ in. (77.5 cm.) wide; 11¼ in. (28.5 cm.) deep


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    This rare chest, executed in burr-elm, was restored by Peter Holmes of Arlington Conservation following its purchase by John Parry in 1998. The unusual fluted canted angles are often associated with cabinet-making practices in the North of England.

    The term bachelor's chest refers to a shallow chest-of-drawers with a hinged top, usually enclosing a veneered surface. The top is usually supported by a pair of lopers placed to either side of the top drawer and is used for writing on, or as a dressing-table. The small size of the bachelor's chest suggests that it was designed as a piece of bedroom furniture, perhaps to fit in the window pier, to benefit from the daylight. The term 'bachelor's chest' was not used in the 18th century which has made identifying such chests in 18th century inventories difficult. The inventory of Sherborne House, Dorset of 1726 lists '2 folding walnut dressing tables drawers to the bottum [sic]' in a bedchamber and in another closet a 'walnut dressing Table to fold up with drawers to bottum [sic]' (A. Bowett, Early Georgian Furniture 1715-1740, pp. 105-106). Sherborne House was a Tudor house purchased by Henry Seymour Portman in 1720 and remodelled in the neo-Palladian manner by Benjamin Bastard of Blandford. The Hall contains a magnificent mural by Sir James Thornhill (d. 1734).

    Special Notice

    No VAT will be charged on the hammer price, but VAT at 17.5% will be added to the buyer's premium, which is invoiced on a VAT inclusive basis.


    Provenance

    Anonymous sale, Fellow's auctioneers, Birmingham, 1998.