Picture This XCVII

Bonham’s The Oak Interior sale in New Bond Street, London on the 28th of September 2016 has a number of interesting items including lot 200, a dated walnut chest of drawers (fig. 1) carrying an estimate of £7,000 – £10,000 ($12,000 – $18,000).

geo_ii_walnut_cod_c1751_01aFig. 1. George II walnut chest, circa 1751. (Bonham’s)

geo_ii_walnut_cod_c1751_01bFig. 2. Chest top with dated inscription. (Bonham’s)

There are two women named Esther Bugby, or Bugbee, recorded in Essex in the mid-18th century. The first, Esther Broadjent, née Thonniton, married a John Bugbee of Malden, Essex in 1764, so cannot be the Esther whose name was recorded on this chest in 1751. A more likely candidate for its owner was the Esther Rust who married another John Bugby in Great Waltham, Essex in 1736. The year 1751 would have marked the 15th year of their marriage.

It’s rare dated furniture like this that affirm the period styles and construction methods so crucial in dating other furniture.

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

5 Responses to Picture This XCVII

  1. diceloader says:

    Is there any indication that the inscription was added at the time of construction or to an existing piece?


    • Jack Plane says:

      I am always suspicious of any such blatant inscriptions that incorporate dates, however, on this occasion, everything points to the inlaid inscription being of a commensurate date of the chest’s manufacture. The lipped drawers, the profile of the bracket feet, the escutcheons and the style of lettering used for the inscription itself, all sit well with a provincial chest of the mid eighteenth-century.



  2. Warwick says:

    It’s a lovely chest, though I’m not sure if I’d want a chest with someone else’s name emblazoned across the top. Would such an inscription usually increase or decrease the chests value in the market place? It’s a shame the handles on the lower drawers don’t line up with the top drawers.
    In terms of the inscription date, would it have been typical to use the long s (that looks like an f) as the first s in a word in the 18th century?


    • Jack Plane says:

      In this instance, the inscription would add value to the chest as it is coextensive with it and the age of the whole would also be a factor.

      The handles are not original and it appears that the originals may indeed have all been in alignment.

      The use of the short s isn’t unusual in a name.



  3. Pingback: Picture This XCVII Redux | Pegs and 'Tails

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