Picture This CXI

A dealer is currently offering this walnut chest for sale and describes it as Queen Anne with original brasses.

What do the sleuths say?

Fig. 1.

Fig. 2.

Fig. 3.

Fig. 4.

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
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22 Responses to Picture This CXI

  1. Lools like a top part of a chest on chest. Through the 1910s period the knee hole dressing table/desk had a higher value than a chest of drawers and tallboy. So the base was converted into desks and the small upper section into chests. Hence why you have a three small top drawers. The sad thing for me is how clean its be restored. Its been stripped and repolished to look like a repro. This internet age clearly shows that the knowledge of period furniture is not what it used to be or what it should be.


  2. Ken says:

    This novice sleuth says that he enjoys these type of posts immensely. I appreciate the opportunity to learn from people like Jack and many other readers with years of experience. Thanks.


  3. Joe M says:

    The drawers..variety of veneer and veneer grain direction on drawers edges. The first photo the upper drawer banding seems to be scratched in. One corner (right) of drawer seems mitered the left side mitered but veneer is not. Handle placement is too high, The top cornice molding is veneered, with the veneer grain running up and down, whereas the third photo shows the molding made long grain no veneer. The last photo shows the feather banding cut into the veneered drawer face, no lock in what looks like the top middle drawer. Odd edge round over on upper drawer edge. looks to be cut with a saw? also in photo one, the veneer on the vertical divider seems to be joined with the lower divider in a spot that would lead one to think that is the size or lower edge of the drawer opening. Drawer is lipped on all four sides/edges?
    So a George II chest with heavy repairs/drawers made from other chests?
    I’m trying!


  4. potomacker says:

    I’ll take a crack. I am going to speculate that the dealer has a habit of calling every walnut case piece Queen Anne because it makes them easier to sell. I also suspect that there is a good reason why you’ve chosen not to show the full piece in that something about the overall form will give away the test too easily.
    These brasses might in fact be contemporary Queen Anne but that top right hand drawer is certainly not original. One single mitered corner? And why would the brasses interrupt the line of the purfling?


  5. Ben says:

    Looks more like George’s boots than Anne’s slippers. Is there a missing stand or lower chest? Would they have used keyhole hardware where there is no keyhole if it were original hardware? (I am asking to learn!) The pulls on the large drawers seem to be too small, looking at the full picture on another site.


  6. Alex A. says:

    If it was Queen Anne shouldn’t it have turned feet and drop pulls?


  7. kevin joy says:

    The top of a chest on chest. But why is the handle so far up the drawer.


  8. Jack Plane says:

    Sorry, I should have been more specific as to my requirements. The dealer concedes this chest is a conversion and lots of readers have identified it as the upper chest of a chest-on-chest/stand, but nobody has identified the conclusive clues.

    I will publish those readers’ comments later (and will reply to other points raised), but in the mean time, I would really like to hear two reasons why this is irrevocably an upper chest. I would also like a firm date.



    • potomacker says:

      The conclusive bit of evidence is that the top is not a bearing surface. With all the effort at converting this piece, it’s off that a solid slab was not simply added to the upper surface. I would want to see end grain orientation on the bracket feet, but not all crasftmen use best practices. Oddly, the bottoms of the feet do appear to have suffered some discoloration from water infiltration, by eye.


    • Ben says:

      I could not give a date. The top and corner moulding and the upper drawer sizes and configuration just say upper chest to me. Just my gut to go on. – I started writing this before I went back and read the dealers description. And now I see that any thing I say is suspect and should just stand back and learn something. I opened the 1stdibs post in my inbox after I read your post and typed in queen anne for reference and there was the chest but just looked at the photo and did not go to the description. I’ve ruined it now , so I’ll just watch.


  9. Joe M says:

    reason 1 unfinished top with exposed joinery
    reason 2 bracket feet and base molding added/not the style of the chest.
    could it be a 1730-50?…still try’n


    • Joe M says:

      I guess the light color of the top in the second photo is glare off a varnished veneered surface with the joints telegraphing through, at first I thought it was unfinished wood with joints showing…darn!
      I look forward to these “exercises” as much as the project posts..great information and learning! Thanks Jack!


  10. Matthew Pease says:

    The lack of veneer on the top indicates it was intended to be at above eye level, and the base is cobbled together from the top moulding of the original base chest and new feet. I’d put the date at 1720, the design inspired by the Palladian movement begun in 1715, but before the veneering was refined with burrs in the central panels and cross-veneered edges seen on most of this type by 1725/30.


  11. Jack Plane says:

    Thank you all for your comments.

    Firstly, the upper moulding is a cornice, not a cyma type top moulding as seen on many floor-standing chests, which straight away makes this an upper chest. The top has been veneered.

    Secondly, the bottom moulding is a separation moulding, not a base moulding.

    And of course, as many have identified, three top drawers are more common to upper chests (though not exclusively).

    I’ll respond to readers’ comments in more detail tomorrow when I will have time.



  12. Jack Plane says:

    Oh, the date! Can I have a date (with justification) please?



  13. warwick says:

    1730-1760. A knowledgable furniture maker/restorer states on his furniture blog that ovolo moulded lipping on drawer fronts enjoyed a brief period of popularity from 1730-1760. The fluted canting on the carcase ends would also fit with Mid Georgian.



    • Jack Plane says:

      The cornice would indicate a date between 1720 and 1745 and the separation moulding and lipped drawers would suggest a date no earlier than 1730.

      This pattern of handle was popular from 1715-1735 and the dealer states the handles are original. If so, one could safely say the chest dates from 1730-1735 in George II’s reign and not Queen Anne’s (1702-1714).



  14. dbgraham says:

    Would you be able to show a shot of the whole piece for scale and context?
    Thank you.


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