Picture This CXLVII

All right sleuths; let’s be having your opinions again please.

Fig. 1. (Box House)

Fig. 2. (Box House)

Fig. 3. (Box House)

Fig. 4. (Box House)

Fig. 5. (Box House)

Fig. 6. (Box House)

As per usual, I may withhold some early comments for a short period to let others have a stab at it.

 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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15 Responses to Picture This CXLVII

  1. Matthew Pease says:

    Well, apart from its head transplant it looks like a very nice thing of c.1725, although I associate those pierced brasses with more like 1740. Then someone has found the top of a giant longcase clock and stuck it on top. The shield has a baroque, continental look to it (I’m not sure that blazon can be described in conventional British heraldry); the vase finials are of stained beech; and the whole cornice and pediment has the jaundiced look of a later alteration on which the stain has bleached differently from the browner colour below, reinforced by the darker shade of the backing timber as seen from behind. It’s probably a confection of the early 20th c., and the finials certainly look recent, but without a closer look it’s just possible it crossed the channel for treatment a long time ago, in say 1760?


  2. On the mouldings and drawer edging of this type that I’ve seen (mostly on this blog) they’re assembled from small pieces of burl. Here they look cut from wide boards. I’ve never seen a japanned lock on this age of furniture but I guess it could be a replacement? The sides seem to be cut from crappier wood than I’d expect but it seems that American furniture of this style doesn’t seem to have the level of finish on its sides that British stuff does (quartered veneers and trim), so maybe I just haven’t seen enough examples. Does it seem weird to have that style of cornice on such a short piece of furniture? I’m going to take a wild guess and say this was made in the Far East in the 1980s.


  3. Joe M says:

    The finials surly look to be “off”…The back boards bothers me….they seem to overlap the case’s top board on both the top chest and the lower….what looks like verticle band saw blade marks too consistent, evenly spaced….reminds me of pallet or crate wood….. Photos too small to tell but the moldings look like thin veneer over solid wood…..I also would expect more shrinkage and cracks in the veneer surface and the moldings for the attributed age of c.1725…could this be a victorian era interpretation of an early piece?


    • Joe M says:

      I miss-spoke about the “attributed age of 1725” . I see there was no age placed on the description…But I would still expect more age related separations in the moldings and the veneer surfaces…..and the drawer locks could have been better fitted…inside the drawers wood surface seems very clean or “newish” showing stains from finish/refinish/polishing…….maybe mid to late 1800’s?….But I’m usually way off……


  4. Potomacker says:

    In fg4 we can see the drawer’s bottom boards oriented front to back, which, I learned somewhere, establishes a date of construction prior to 1755. And yet there are no oversawing cuts for the mortise in which the locket is recessed.In fig 5 I assume that the side is bookmatched veneer but it is upside from the more aesthetically pleasing ‘cathedral’ with the crotch figure pointing upwards. Lastly in fig 6 the back boards show uneven degrees of oxidization. The top backboard of the upper section appears to have nail holes from a previous application and it appears, although how to exactly judge from the photo, that the top backboard of the lower section has suffered water damage when it was oriented in a vertical position


  5. Eric R says:

    Just what Matthew said…
    (Only joking)
    I agree with the piece being built in the early 1700″s, but the finials definitely appear to be newer, around the mid-1700s or maybe later.
    I shan’t embarrass myself with a complete guess, other than to say it displays some very nice craftmanship. But it looks weathered like it has been improperly cared for.
    I’ll be watching your site to see who is closest to susses it out.
    Thank you, Jack. I truly enjoy your channel and have learned so much from you.
    Eric in Kissimmee, Florida USA


  6. Warwick says:

    Just a few thoughts. It looks like a collection of George I, II and III features.
    The canted corners and fluting look neoclassical. The pediment looks to be heading that way too but looks a bit simple and naive to be high-fashion english, maybe country, American or continental (or a later addition).

    The drawer bottoms and overlapping fronts look GI – II. The handles show no sign of being replacements, and are in an early style.

    The walnut veneers/boards are spectaculaly figured and cracked, but not nearly faded as much as expected for something G I. Maybe over vigorous restoration, kept v dark, or a more recent date.

    The backboards are on sideways which is odd, and not glued (ship lapped?), and do seem to have bandsaw marks on some of them. The back may have been replaced?
    There are a few borer holes in the front but the distribution is a little unusual (v even).

    I’m not sure what to make of it. The pediment doesn’t sit right on what is otherwise a lovely looking chest. Maybe its a bit of a series of restorations, a naive country piece recalling a number of styles, a more recent reproduction…?



  7. Joe M says:

    second drawer down from the top, left side (looking at the chest) handle is upside down….Just say’n.😉


  8. TobyC says:

    No wear and tear anywhere, no broken corners or repaired feet, brass doesn’t fit, obvious “new” pieces, miters poorly executed, no shrinkage or checking, I think someone created this thing relatively recently.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. TobyC says:

    I don’t see bandsaw marks, I see planer marks, and I don’t mean from a hand plane.


  10. Joe M says:

    The construction/attachment of the pediment is also suspicious…veneer covers the entire vertical surface…meaning it is part of the case…with very little support from the rear….could it survive 300 years with out any breaks in the facade veneer? Was every person who handled the piece that careful??…still feeling mid 1800’s.


  11. Jack Plane says:

    Thank you all for your input.

    I find this chest-on-chest quite problematic and disquieting. The vendor (https://boxhouse-antiques.com/antique/an-exceptional-queen-anne-burr-walnut-tallboy/) cites, what should be nonpareil provenance (Percy Macquoid, A History Of English Furniture), yet the images simply don’t concur – not to mention the vendor’s description.

    The general design and construction of the chest fits the period 1730-50 and the brasses – if original – further point to a date between 1735 and 1740.

    The veneer on the carcass sides is a worry, but I won’t condemn it unseen. The oak drawer bottoms exhibit more patina than the walnut veneers. I would have liked to see paneled backs on the carcasses, but howsoever, planed backboards would be acceptable. The current backboards are obviously repurposed.

    Patina is mentioned in the vendor’s description, but I fail to see it. As some of you have observed, the finials are newly made, of beech, and to what design, I do not know.

    I have a feeling this chest-on-chest hasn’t so much been restored as salvaged at some point.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Matthew Pease says:

    Thanks for the links, Jack.

    Looking closely at the vendor’s additional images and at McQuoid’s B&W illustration I can see that despite their very close similarities the chests are not the same one, unless it has gone through such a dramatic face lift, re-veneering and refinishing as to amount to a different chest anyway:

    The finials are a different profile; the cornice on McQuoid’s has a different section (eg. it has a flat soffit); enough can be seen of the natural grain of the veneers to see that they are different in every part; the feet and other parts are of different proportions. Meanwhile the faint marks of a change of drawer handle location can be seen in the vendor’s images.

    I don’t know what to make of it, but this chest isn’t the one seen by McQuoid.


  13. Joe Hennessey says:

    The labels on the pictures give it away.
    It’s from Box House, a well known chain of importers of cheap knockoffs from the Orient.


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