An Unusual Oak Low Dresser

The general form and dimensions of this English low dresser are not that uncommon for its type and period (c. 1790): The rear legs are square, the front legs are turned and the drawers are cross-banded with mahogany but on closer inspection, the drawer openings are a little unusual for a piece of this period.

Low dresser circa 1770 with cockbeading surrounding drawer.

The original Oak low dresser that I took the drawings from about thirty years ago was to some extent a rarity. Instead of the cockbeading being attached round the perimeter of the drawers (as was the norm from circa 1720), simulated cockbeading was moulded into the frame round the drawer openings – a practice that died out around 1740. This feature necessitated the carving of ‘mason’s mitres’ to complete the corners – a feature, as the name suggests, normally used in stonemasonry for the corners of window casements and the like.

Mason’s mitres in stone window surround.

Bead and corresponding mason’s mitre in the low dresser frame.

Low dresser  carcase in-the-white.

The completed low dresser , coloured, aged and waxed.

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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