Fine George III Chest of Drawers, attributed to Thomas Chippendale Junior
A fine quality George III period mahogany chest of drawers, attributable to Thomas Chippendale Junior,
English, c. 1780
Why we like it
Put aside the association with the great master cabinetmaker, its splendid, wonderfully mellowed colour with golden, amber and honey hues is simply to die for. A rare combination of superb quality, beautifully figured veneers and untouched and little used condition. Original, gloriously patinated surface throughout; original, never touched handles and locks.
For most people the name of Thomas Chippendale is the last thing which comes to mind while looking at this chest of drawers. However, the main body of his oeuvre is not the elaborately carved, gilded or inlaid grand furniture for state apartments, but simple and practical pieces intended for the everyday use and 'done in a neat but not an expensive manner', to the same high quality standards as the more sophisticated examples.
The chest offered here relates to a secretaire chest of drawers, supplied by Chippendale to Ninian Home for Paxton House, Berwickshire, around 1775. It has the same simple straight front with original pressed handles and similar outcurved 'French' feet. It displays a number of other features emblematic of Chippendale's restrained, sober work and with notable economy of decoration; these include: the use of red wash on secondary carcase timbers, chamfered drawer stops, and cross-grain mouldings. The keyholes of its brass locks are not quite S-shaped, but of a rather sophisticated profile, which indicates a special request of a client, possibly concerned about the security of their possessions. The overall superb quality of construction and choice of timbers and veneers are also typical of Chippendale's work.
The bottom, typically treated with red wash, retains an 18th century chalk inscription, possibly related to the client who commissioned it: 'Tho[ma]s Wilkinson Esq Hokesley(?)'.
Original little used condition, one slider knob replaced, tip of one foot restored.