Picture This LXXXVI

There is a particularly nice walnut chest of drawers coming up for auction in Christie’s The English Collector: English Furniture, Clocks, European Ceramics & Portrait Miniatures in King Street, London on the 19th of May 2016.

The chest comprises a caddy-top, a serpentine front, a dressing slide, blind-fretted canted corners, ogee bracket feet, feather- and cross-banded top and drawers with original brasses. That’s quite a mouthful. It’s quite a chest.

Geo_II_walnut_serpentine_COD_c1750-60_01aLot 65; a George II walnut serpentine chest, circa 1750-60, estimate £30,000 – £50,000 (AU$60,789 – AU$101,315). (Christie’s)

The chest’s provenance is equally impressive, having been in the possession of not one, but two of Britain’s most notable furniture collectors, Percival D. Griffiths and Geoffrey Blackwell.

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, Auction Alerts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

18 Responses to Picture This LXXXVI

  1. hughjengine says:

    That’s exquisite! One for the book?



  2. Eric R says:

    Spectacular piece.
    I sat here for 30 minutes just drinking this piece in.
    This type of workmanship must be applauded.



  3. Joe M says:

    I wonder if the inside of the drawer fronts follow the serpentine shape of the outside or straight across?. The cockbeading would need to be scribed and cut to shape/fit, if the are serpentine….same with the dressing slide…
    Any photos/examples of similar canted-corner chests giving an idea of the construction of the front/side/drawer runner relationship? The more I look at this chest the further up the “program list” it goes. (will need to do a lot of learning/practice before attempting it).
    This small chest could give a lot of “bragging rights” to the maker. It could be a book of it’s own!


    • Jack Plane says:

      The drawer fronts are undoubtedly of uniform thickness throughout their length. Cockbeading is scribed from the exterior of the drawer front and all shaping completed before being fitted. The interior edge of the cockbeading is roughly scribed and then trimmed flush after fitting.

      The carcase construction would be no different to any other chest with columns/canted corners at the front: Packers (the width of the columns/canted corner posts), with grooves to carry the dustboards, are attached to the inside of the carcase. See details from M. Ford Creech’s chest below.

      There is really nothing complicated about the construction of a chest like this – as long as it’s approached methodically.



      • Joe M says:

        Would the columns/canted corners be just glued to the edges of the sides? with notches on the top? resulting in end grain being exposed, then covered with veneer? i’m assuming the drawer dividers are joined to the corner “post” with a single sided dovetail. and the drawer dividers/packers, rebated for the dust board, which is set into the rebate and then captured buy another piece to act as a drawer guide along the case side…….. Time to hit the sketch book, get down the shop and make some prototypes. I think this just moved up the “To Do List” a few more notches.


        • Jack Plane says:

          The carcase’s four panels are made as normal, with the corner posts glued in place after assembly. The backs of the corner posts are usually housed to support the packers/dustboard supports – but not always.

          Split glue blocks are often found below the packers on the carcase sides and occasionally on the corner posts (in lieu of cutting housings in the back of the posts).

          The portion of the packer above the dustboard groove acts as the drawer guide.



  4. Brian Lowery says:

    Wow, cockbeading even on the slide, and I really like the way the feet mirror the angled corners.


  5. Nice piece. The carving on the front corners is not a detail that I’ve seen on American furniture (maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough), but I saw an English chest-on-chest with this detail in a Charleston, SC antique store last month and fell in love with it. I’d love to build something like this one day.


  6. David Andrew says:

    A bit roccoco for me, but whats a caddy-top when its at home, hinged ?


  7. Pingback: Picture This LXXXVI Redux | Pegs and 'Tails

  8. Pingback: A George II Walnut Serpentine Chest – Part One | Pegs and 'Tails

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