Picture This LXX

Geo_I_walnut_batchelors_COD_c1720_02gA George I walnut bachelor’s chest with curious cushion arrangement incorporating a central loper and a drawer to either side, circa 1720. (Millington Adams)

The chest was offered by Cheshire dealers,  Millington Adams and described thusly:

A fine and very rare George I walnut and feather banded bachelor chest with an unusual cushion waist. The top with a cross and feather banded top laid with veneers in a double book matched fashion. Opening the top reveals a very similar layout of cross and feather banded book matched veneers. Below a very unusual cushion section with central retractable support for the top and to each side a lockable cushion drawer. Below a pair of short, feather banded, oak lined drawers over two long graduated drawers fitted with brass plate handles and iron locks. The chest is supported on shaped walnut bracket feet.

This bachelor chest is of unusual form, with a cushion moulding underneath the top incorporating a pair of side drawers and a central support loper for the top. With this extra section, it still conforms in size to the classic proportions of bachelor chests from this period. Our thoughts are that this piece is made in the country or by a local cabinet maker to the specific instructions of his client, it is of wonderful quality and colour, utilising fine veneers throughout.

Provenance: Private collection UK.

Condition: Excellent. Minor restorations, waxing. Handles are later replacements. Feet and front drawer locks apparently original, the cushion drawer locks possibly replacements.

The chest sold last year for £29,900 ($62,526).

Actually, Millington Adams bought the chest in December 2014 from Dreweatts for £3000 ($6240) who described it thusly:

A George I walnut batchelors chest circa 1720 the feather and crossbanded folding top supported by a central loper with two small side drawers and two short and two long drawers on bracket feet 76cm high, 75cm wide, 31cm deep

Marks, scratches and abrasions consistent with age and use
Old chips and splits
Handles replaced, probably in 18th century
Evidence of worm to left side – refilled and repolished
Cracks to veneer to top and interior writing surface, signs of being relaid and repolished

Why did the rest of the trade put this ugly duckling in the too hard basket? I would have bid more than £3000 for the little gem.

Many will consider the final price unconscionable (I believe the chest attained its true value), but an antiques dealer’s life isn’t all beer and skittles.

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, Picture This and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Picture This LXX

  1. Paul Murphy says:

    A member of the Lee family. Grisly, ghastly, beastly and ugly.


  2. paul6000000 says:

    Just yesterday, I was reading in The Economist that the bottom has fallen out of the antiques market….something about changing tastes and online sales.



  3. pogo930 says:

    Can you explain how the cushion drawers are locked? I don’t see any keyholes. From the sides perhaps?


  4. hiltonsister says:

    Interesting how my art deco sideboard has thusly cushion-waisted drawers.


  5. Warwick says:

    It seems like a nice little chest, though IMHO it would be nicer without the cushion ‘waist’

    Incidentally, it seems odd to call the section just below the top a waist. That would make the entire rest of the case the ‘bottom’. Surely the section just above the legs would be a more intuitive area to call a waist? The section below the top would be better called a shoulder or a bust or such like. A cushion busted cabinet has quite a ring to it .


  6. potomacker says:

    Oftentimes, it comes down simply to a matter of timing.


    • Jack Plane says:

      Timing used to be a headache for me on occasions, but in these days of mobile ‘phones and internet bidding, it’s fairly straightforward to bid on several auctions at once.



      • potomacker says:

        I propose a simple thought experiment, that you develop a Fermi equation to estimate the largest number of potential buyers, institutions and individuals, in the market for such a piece. Can the number ever be larger than 5,000 worldwide?


  7. maker says:

    At £3000.00 maybe theres more to this than meets the eye ! The word ring springs to mind .


I welcome your comments

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s