Christie’s Thomas Chippendale: 300 Years

To commemorate Thomas Chippendale’s 300th birthday, Christie’s are conducting a sale of a number of items of furniture attributed to Thomas Chippendale, in their rooms at 8 King Street, St. James’s, London on July the 5th.

The construction of lot 13‘s feet is worth a look.

Jack Plane

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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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16 Responses to Christie’s Thomas Chippendale: 300 Years

  1. Ron Aylor says:

    Quite impressive. The feet are extremely noteworthy, but I like the gadrooning at the top.

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  2. Joe M says:

    Could they have had some “restoration” on them?, There seems to be a “joint”, ( about 3 inches up, parallel to the floor) on each of the front legs. Maybe from wear or decay and they needed some extensions?

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  3. kevin joy says:

    Forgive my ignorance but what is special about the feet?.

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  4. potomacker says:

    There’s nary a dent on any of the bracketed feet? Did the owners all walk around bare footed? What can you say about the red wash on the underside? Another “Chippendale” trait or an easy way to fake a Chippendale piece? It seems completely out of place on a preindustrial item. And it seems a bit too flawless, too.

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    • Jack Plane says:

      This is a fairly well-to-do chest – whether by Chippendale or not. The owners would have been wealthy and refined and as a result, the chest would have existed in a cosseted environment. That said, it does exhibit a reasonable level of wear that I would expect.

      The red wash was de rigeur and in no way exclusive to Chippendale.

      JP

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  5. potomacker says:

    The fact that the description has ‘possibly by Chippendale’, is this how an auctionhouse does CYA?

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  6. Warwick says:

    Hi

    I think this is a beautiful and well proportioned chest. Thanks Jack for bringing it to my attention. I would happily have it grace my bedroom if I could pick it up for a couple of hundred thousand pounds less than the expected going price.

    I would like your comments on a couple of observations though:

    The chest seems to show very little wear of the general surfaces and no apparent grooves in the drawer divider rails below the drawer runners, and no signs of warping or movement of the drawers, which of course may be due to top quality design and manufacture, and being shut up in a dark guest bedroom or such like in some manor house for most of its days; but the veneer looks like its had a bit of a harder life and shows a quite a bit of cracking (consistent with shrinkage and moisture movement?)

    Also a couple of things make me wonder if it is really a Chippendale. The egg and swag carving on the top seems a little incongruous with the foliate carving on the carcase cants, whereas Chippendale’s pieces invariably seem to have a notably unified and congruous design. The carving motifs also don’t look typical of one’s I have seen on other Chipendale pieces. But I am no expert, and of course wealthy clients usually get what they want.

    It looks to me like the top edge of the top drawer sides have been veneered (?), which I have never seen before. They are also very wide, which I presume is to allow for the dado housing the inset brushing slide?

    Any thoughts?

    Cheers

    WB

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    • Jack Plane says:

      As I mentioned in my reply to potomacker, above, the chest (though bearing convincing wear, to my eye) has likely enjoyed a fairly comfortable life.

      The “mahogany veneer” you see on the top drawer sides is in fact solid mahogany: As it is a dressing drawer, the entire drawer and all its linings, compartments, brushing slide and mirror should be made of mahogany.


      Mahogany-lined dressing drawer with brushing slide retracted, circa 1760.

      The thicker-than-normal drawer sides are, as you suppose, to accommodate the retractable brushing slide.

      Dressing chests like this example are not uncommon and are, almost without exception, beautifully constructed from choice materials and invariably made by the top cabinetmakers of the time.

      Aside from having seen some restoration and been poorly re-polished, this chest is of a very high quality. However, I am not convinced it is actually by Chippendale. I would need to examine it for myself before I might be persuaded otherwise.

      JP

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  7. Pingback: Auction Result – Christie’s 5th July 2018 | Pegs and 'Tails

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