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    Sale 7439

    Important English Furniture

    22 November 2007, London, King Street

  • Lot 618

    AN EARLY GEORGE III MAHOGANY SERPENTINE DRESSING-CHEST

    POSSIBLY BY THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1765

    Price Realised  

    AN EARLY GEORGE III MAHOGANY SERPENTINE DRESSING-CHEST
    POSSIBLY BY THOMAS CHIPPENDALE, CIRCA 1765
    The shaped top above four graduated mahogany-lined drawers, the top drawer fitted with divisions, with fielded two panel back on shaped bracket feet, the handles original, the underside with laminated block feet, red wash and nails with old binding twine
    34 in. (86.5 cm.) high; 46 in. (117 cm.) wide; 25¾ in. (65.5 cm.) deep


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    This mahogany chest relates to a group of similar chests possibly by Thomas Chippendale at Dumfries House, Ayrshire (included in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue, 12-13 July 2007, lots 106, 153, 213, 242, 251 and 252). Although these chests are unrecorded in Chippendale's bills, there are certain features that allow an attribution. For instance, behind the simple bracket foot, the blocking is laminated and there are nails on the underside for the 'pack thread' used for the protective transportation cover: features found on the mahogany clothes-press attributed to Thomas Chippendale and possibly that invoiced by him on 4 June 1763 as 'A large mahog'y cloaths press with folding doors and sliding shelves of cedar and bays apron 9...'. The latter was included in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue, 13 July 2007, lot 236. The present lot also has laminated blocking and nails with old binding twine attached on the underside. Other characteristics typical of Chippendale's workshop that the present lot shares with this group of mahogany chests are: its use of superb quality mahogany, the restrained nature of its design, a red wash to the underside and the simple original swan-neck handles. A further similarity is the two-panelled backboard of the present lot, which follows the same format as the backboard of lot 106 in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue.
    Furthermore, there is a related serpentine chest at Dumfries House, attributed to Thomas Chippendale, probably commissioned by John, Viscount Mountstuart, later 4th Earl and 1st Marquess of Bute, circa 1766 for Cardiff Castle, later moved to Dumfries (included in the Dumfries House Christie's sale catalogue, 12 July 2007, lot 85). This chest also shares certain similarities with the current lot, such as its richly figured veneers, the arrangement of four graduated drawers in a serpentine shape, the top drawer lined in mahogany and fitted with compartments, and the use of a slightly more shapely bracket foot than witnessed in the earlier group of chests.
    Other similar serpentine chests were supplied by Thomas Chippendale for Ninian Home at Paxton House, Scotland; Henry, 10th Earl of Pembroke at Wilton House, Wiltshire and Sir Edward Knatchbull at Mersham le Hatch, Kent (see C.Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol. II, figs. 203, 205 and 206).

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