A rare and important George I Walnut Secretaire Cabinet of good colour and fine proportions, veneered in the finest highly figured and burr Walnut veneers. This piece relates closely to documented examples bearing the Coxed and Woster label one of which is illustrated in C.Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700 – 1840, Leeds, 1996, p.161, fig. 250.
A further two images bearing John Coxed’s trade label of circa 1710 – 15, both illustrated in A. Bowett, English Furniture 1660 – 1714, Woodbridge, 2002, p.226, pls. 7.59 and 7.60.
It is interesting to note that the same gilt brass ring drop handles with domed back plates were used on the interior of both pieces and that the top section of the interior drawer formation is almost identical, apart from the addition of a secret concave drawer operated from underneath by removing the middle drawer. This type of drawer to the top can be seen on pieces by William old and John Ody who were contemporaries of Coxed and Woster, both firms had workshops in the st. Paul’s Churchyard area of London.
The originality of this piece along with the striking Walnut veneers make it special. Originally the handles to the drawers in the base were the same as those of the interior, we can see this due to the old fixings inside the drawer fronts, ring handles can also be seen to the base of other documented examples from st. Paul’s Churchyard London. The handles that are now fitted to the base drawers are gilt brasses of the period and similar to those on other pieces of this type. These larger and stronger handles we believe were fitted within the first few years after it was made as the originals were too weak for the larges base drawers. The other fittings are all original including hinges, locks, bolts and interior handles.
The feet on pieces of this early period are usually replaced, on this example they are original with repairs. The original Oak drawer linings are exceptionally clean showing that the piece has not been heavily used over the years, in fact we believe it probably stood in the same house for most of its life until recently. In one of the interior drawers was an envelope with the words Fragment veneer off Bridewain Cabinet written on it. We were intrigued by this as we had no idea what a bridewain was. However having researched this we found that it means wedding present, we think that this chest may have been made as a wedding gift originally and that the family had referred to it as such ever since.
A very Similar Secretaire Cabinet with Japanned finish having the exact same interior drawer formation can be found in The Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City.
Height = 189 cm (74.4″)
Width = 108 cm (42.5″)
Depth = 49 cm (19.3″)