Early bun-footed floor-standing chests of drawers and the upper chests of chests-on-chests and chests-on-stands that have subsequently migrated onto bracket feet have been the topic of many a post on this blog. Some of them evolved as their fragile feet or stands decayed and others made the transition to keep abreast of prevailing trends, while yet more are the fraudulent work of some greedy antiques dealers.
Many early transmutations look comfortable in, what are now, their old worn slippers and both dealers and private buyers are often fooled into thinking the bracket feet are original.
Such appears to be the case with the author, E.J. Warne, whose 1923 publication, Furniture Mouldings, Full Size Sections of Moulded Details on English Furniture from 1574 to 1820, illustrates a few, of what we now understand to be, inaccuracies.
Take, for example, Plate 70 (figure 1) which shows a late seventeenth century geometric chest which would normally stand on extensions of its own stiles (figure 2), but appears, in Warne’s illustration to be standing on George II bracket feet.
Fig. 1. E.J. Warne’s Carolean chest.
Fig. 2. Typical oak geometric chest of around 1680. (Windsor House Antiques)
Further, Plate 75 (figure 3) clearly shows a late seventeenth century or early eighteenth century chest (determinable by its very thick-sides) with two short upper drawers, standing on mid-to-late eighteenth century bracket feet.
Fig. 3. E.J. Warne’s William and Mary chest.
Fig. 4. William and Mary or Queen Anne thick-sided and bun-footed walnut chest (with replacement circa 1710 brasses), circa 1695-1710.
There are problems with a few other of Warne’s illustrations, though undoubtedly innocent.