Picture This XXI

Split chests are cropping up with great regularity!


George I split walnut chest, circa 1720. (Christie’s)

The construction of this chest appears to contradict the reasoning and method of splitting flat panel chests that I described in Picture This XIX, however, this chest is an entirely different animal.

The obvious departure is that the split occurs precisely between the second and third drawers. Now, I know I said that splitting flat panel chests in or around dustboards would affect their structural integrity, but this chest is far superior in design and execution to the former examples: This flat panel chest comprises two entirely separate carcases.

The third and fourth drawers are housed in their own self-contained carcase, around the top of which is glued the cross-grained moulding. The upper section of the chest is also a self-contained carcase. The second drawer’s bottom boards and runners are raised so that the bottom edge of the drawer hides the (reduced-depth) carcase base.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Case Furniture, Picture This and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Picture This XXI

  1. C T Caveny says:

    Helo, Mr Plane,
    I only just became a subscriber, and I am in awe of the trouble and effort to which you must go to share all of this with us.
    My question is regarding the split chest ( Picture this XXI.) The drawer fronts have a grain pattern that suggests the border is an integral border with a raised field in the middle. If that is indeed the case, on what level or levels do the keyhole escutcheons sit?
    Just curious. Thank you so much for sharing.


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