Picture This XXII


This corner cabinet (currently for sale at a well known Providence, Rhode Island antiques dealer’s) is described as a “Diminutive Mahogany Queen Anne Corner Cabinet with Mariner’s Star, England, c.1740-60.”

I won’t dwell on the fact that Queen Anne died in 1714 because we already know that Ascribing Furniture Periods is a haphazard game (akin to Pin the Tail on the Donkey) so beloved of North American antiques aficionados.

Rather, there are other inaccuracies in the dealer’s description of the cupboard, which sadly, reads like a garage sale advertisement in a small town newspaper:

Mariner’s stars (or compass stars) are rarely found in early furniture and highly desirable, particularly in early Boston furniture. The mariner’s star is integrated into this casepiece via an arched pediment and is further embellished with reeding on the sides of the case as well as a convex curve that meets the glass doors. In short, it’s a pretty sophisticated piece of cabinetwork for such a small piece and has a drawer integrated below, which is a rare feature. The interior shelves are beautifully stylized and all of the glass is original, which is evidenced by the original putty behind the glass, which leaves no question.


For a start, the primary wood is walnut, not mahogany. It was made at the start of George II’s reign (1727-1760). The moulding on the sides of the case is fluting, not “reeding” and the recurvature is concave, not “convex”.


Jack Plane


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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9 Responses to Picture This XXII

  1. Norman Beckett says:

    Mr. Plane,
    Just goes to show we remain two countries separated by a common language.


  2. Dave Reedy says:

    Wonderful cabinet. What are the dimensions?


  3. LD says:

    A “… garage sale advertisement in a small town newspaper”. Rhode Island is quite small– about the size of a garage. They need to get rid of the old furniture, or there won’t be any room for new furniture!


  4. It is stunning, despite the terrible description.


  5. Tim says:

    Interesting muntins in the door. I would like to see a close- up of the way they’re joined. So delicate.


  6. dzj9 says:

    A steal at 18K.


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