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).