… where decay and fashion collide.
Joiner-made late seventeenth-century chests of drawers employed pegged, frame-and-panel construction methods adapted from coetaneous building technology. The four stiles extend beneath the base moulding, raising the carcase clear of uneven, damp floors (fig. 1).
The bottoms of the stiles however, often succumbed to rising damp and wet mopping resulting in decay with reduction in height, or total loss of the feet.
I have restored dozens of early stile-feet over the years: It’s not difficult grafting on some timber and colouring it to make a seamless repair although the niceties of the task escaped the person responsible for the huge replacement feet in figure 2.
At such times, these early chests were frequently modernised by the addition of bun feet (fig. 3).
As trends evolved, bracket feet were also added to early chests in the name of fashion (fig. 4)…
… though in the case of this oak chest, the feet’s dark stained wood and what appears to be PVA adhesive point to recent conversion (fig. 5).