Nice Work! II

I don’t often despair of much (and it may just be because I’m in a fair bit of pain at the moment) however, the atrocities inflicted on, and written about this walnut chest of drawers give me little confidence in the continuance of humankind!

A vendor describes this chest variously as:

  1. “Late 18th Century Charles II […].”
    That would be early eighteenth-century, George I (Charles II reigned from 1625-49).
  2. “1780s.” (twice)
    No! (twice) It’s circa 1715-20.
  3. “[…] dual iron design handles […]”
    Oh for crying out loud! They’re brass! What does “dual iron design” even mean?
  4. “[…] with decorative keyhole plates […]”
    He can’t possibly mean escutcheons… can he?
  5. “[…] delicate bottom trim.”
    The moulding or the later bracket feet?
  6. “[…] features the original mid tone color finish.”
    Original finish? It’s since had a coat or two of “mid-tone” shellac slapped on it – inside and out (fig. 2)!
  7. “The beautiful patina is accented by the simple but elegant design […].”
    Patina! It’s all been obliterated!

Fig. 1. It never hurt anybody!

Fig. 2. Was it a personal vendetta?

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, Nice Work and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Nice Work! II

  1. Finn Koefoed-Nielsen says:

    Oh my…even Screwfix use the term escutcheons!


  2. Ged Gardiner says:

    Yes Jack, I agree totally. It often astonishes me at the ignorance demonstrated by those who pretend to being in the “Profession”.

    I am sorry to hear about your pain, I hope it abates soon.



  3. potomacker says:

    Do you think that the feet are original? The color looks off and they lack any wear patterns. As for shellac on the interior, is there a sense that this is what customers want?


  4. Jack, I feel your frustration and I am afraid to say its not going to improve but worsen.
    This description has the feel of a auctioneers catalogue. Where they say anything because they have been taught from books not for hands on.
    I got for a client a early 1800 two door cupboard. The facade had dummy drawers so it look like a bow fronted chest. Inside three shelves with two deep drawers one being a cellerette. That was sold as a 1970s TV cabinet on the grounds that there was a hole in one of the backboards?

    The sad problem is that there is no course anywhere that students of antique furniture can be taught or learn in a archaeology way as I was or being open minded.
    To much of are field is opinion base without showing that evidence of proof or fact.
    Even today modern educated restorer doesnt question anomalies or experts.
    As a restorer who is now in my 35 year I have been questioned every day but in that i have learnt that mistake are not wrong but the start of new learning.

    This is why blogs from you Christopher Storb and other open the door for improvement of our field. Its a shame that when in the real world there is not a platform for people like me to stand up and educt new findings until you have published a book.
    Its all a closed shop so by being this way means very little will change.


  5. Bob Easton says:

    No matter what slander falls to this poor chest, here’s hope that whatever pains you leaves quickly.


  6. DonP says:

    alternative facts?


  7. Joe M says:

    He also states further in his discription “polished Brass”. He should buy a new polishing cloth or learn to press harder. And brags that the drawers slide in and out with ease. Does that mean others he sells do not? PS: one top drawer seems not to have a keyhole behind it’s “plate”. A beautiful walnut chest. Wish it were mine.


  8. Ken says:

    I don’t generally come here for a laugh but that was good, despite the butchery of this description.


  9. Bruce says:

    Wow! I hope your retirement nest eggs are not antiques. Maybe, …..


  10. Jeff says:

    Not noted: Drawer pull cotter pins replaced (more than once it looks) – therefore drawer pulls need a closer look. They look nice.


  11. Jack Plane says:

    Note to self: Don’t post whilst taking opioids!



  12. M.P. Gilstrap says:

    This is why I read this blog. Quite an education.


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