Picture This CXXV

I have previously mentioned (here, here and here) how some early case furniture – for various reasons – gained bracket feet later in life. Conversely, upper chests from walnut chest-on-chests and less commonly, chest-on-stands, as late as 1750 occasionally gained/regained bun feet during the nineteenth- and twentieth-centuries to meet the demand for ‘nice original early chests’.

Lot 193 at Woolley & Wallis’ Furniture, Works of Art and Clocks sale today, Wednesday the 3rd of October in their rooms in Salisbury, Wiltshire is one such Georgian mahogany chest that has lost its original bracket feet in favour of a set of bun feet.

Lot 193, a George III mahogany chest, circa 1765. (Woolley & Wallis)

However, the later mahogany buns are not an attempt to evoke an earlier style, on the contrary; like the bracket feet that so often replace bun feet to update early walnut case furniture, these replacement feet (with concealed castors) are a subsequent Victorian modernisation.

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.

4 Responses to Picture This CXXV

  1. potomacker says:

    This isn’t a conversion so what could have been the motivation for not replacing (damaged?) original bracket feet with the buns? If these are all original hardware pieces, is it an example of locksmith overkill, or can you speculate what the original function was?
    Also would you not expect to see some damage from the bails after a few centuries?
    I also noticed that the cockbeading is missing from the same side on every drawer. Weird. Lastly, the surfaces of the drawers are so splotchy and variable from top to bottom. Is this water or sunlight damage? Mildew or evidence of previous restoration?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jack Plane says:

      The chest is basically in pretty good condition and the bracket feet were most likely perfectly all right too. The bun feet would have been added during the Victorian era to modernise the chest (horrid Victorian shape of buns).

      Though the brasses are not en suite, I would be very surprised if there aren’t some bruises on the drawer fronts from the bails bouncing off them, however, as the bails are in situ, it’s impossible to see what’s behind them.

      The cockbeading on the ends of the drawers wasn’t nailed when glued on. As they’re attached to predominantly end grain, it’s essential to nail these little beads onto the ends of drawers, otherwise they can easily pop off if the glue is allowed to become too dry and the drawer fronts shrink. Traditionally, two or three nails are used per bead. The top and bottom beads are not nailed.

      The chest has been French polished – presumably by the same crazed Victorian who added the buns. The chest wasn’t cleaned off and as a result, the shellac has not adhered properly.


      Liked by 1 person

  2. Joe M says:

    strange mix of brasses


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