The catalogue for Sworder’s The Autumn Country House Sale on the 15th of September has cast up a few interesting lots: Dating from circa 1690, lot 470 is catalogued as “A marquetry chest of drawers, early 18th century, of two short and three long drawers…”. The chest (fig. 1) is typical of its genre (though the brasses have been replaced), but the ogee bracket feet – synonymous with the mid eighteenth-century – look to me as if they could even be twentieth-century.
Fig. 1. Lot 470, reshod walnut and marquetry chest, circa 1690. (Sworders)
Lot 498 is catalogued as “A Queen Anne walnut and herringbone strung chest,
of two long and two short drawers, fitted with a cushion frieze drawer with baluster drop handles, on bun feet…” – which isn’t the entire picture either. The chest (fig. 2) is another upper tier chest from a chest-on-chest/stand as can be determined by the cushion drawer and the typically crudely boarded top. The later-added bun feet appear to have been curiously modelled on a paint muller rather than any contemporary style of bun foot.
“Baluster drop handles” are new to me… and to the chest.
Fig. 2. Lot 498, circa 1690-1710 walnut upper chest on newly acquired feet. (Sworders)
An attempt at improvement or modernisation has resulted in lot 567 – a late seventeenth- or early eighteenth-century chest on stand – losing its baluster- or spiral-turned legs and wavy stretcher in favour of 1740 style cabriole legs (fig. 3).
Fig. 3. Lot 567, a circa 1690-1710 walnut chest-on-stand with replaced legs. (Sworders)
I like the first one the most. Would be interesting to see the joinery and what woods were used. Thank you once more.
Is it common for original feet to be missing from early pieces? Do replaced feet significantly effect the value?
It’s not a case of the feet being missing, they were often intentionally replaced either to update the furniture as eighteenth-century fashions evolved, or were replaced in the nineteenth to twenty-first-century by dealers and other vendors looking to capitalise on revolving trends.
Any alteration, no matter how or why effected, should always be reflected in the price. However, many vendors – either through ignorance or avarice – don’t disclose all the facts and, for the most part, the buying public wouldn’t know if a chest’s feet had been replaced and purchase simply for that Georgian olde-woody-glow.
The last one looks terrible with those legs.
The first one looks nice.