18th Century Mahogany Chest Of Drawers

A fine 18th Century Mahogany Chest Of Drawers of good colour, in remarkably clean original condition. Having the lovely original pierced brass handles and most of the original locks, with just one replacement back foot, otherwise all original. The drawer linings are made in fruitwood, they are in very good clean original condition and the dovetail joints neatly cut.

Price £2,800



Height = 80 cm (31.5″)
Width = 85 cm (33.5″)
Depth = 50 cm (19.7″)

The Importance of Colour and Patina

The Importance of Colour and Patina has been discussed many times over the years by collectors, experts and dealers. It has always been a major factor when valuing a piece. A good friend and of mine John Parry who is one of the greatest furniture collectors of our time, has always had a fabulous eye for colour and surface. This helped to make his collections sort after and highly valued, Non more so than his Walnut Collection which was one of the most impressive ever assembled.

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A fine 18th Century Queen Anne Burr Walnut Chest On Stand of the most outstanding colour and patina. The chased brass handles are original and untouched. The original drawer linings are made in Oak, they are wonderfully clean, just as we like to see them. The piece retains all but two of its original locks. The legs are replacements, they are the correct shape and design for the period and an excellent match for colour with the rest of the piece. The edge of the drawer fronts are finished with a banding of Burr Elm. The double bead to the framework around the drawer fronts is a typical feature of the Queen Anne period as are the chased brass handles.



Interesting History

It is not that often that you come across a piece of furniture that has lived in the same family for years. This Bureau Cabinet from the golden age of English Furniture has most likely lived with the Oaks Family for many years of its life.

This bookcase was owned by the Oakes Family of Nowton Court. The cheque book of Mrs Oakes isinside the bookcase along with quite remarkably the original architects drawing of Nowton court on linen with the name J H Porteus Oakes and a later updated drawing with the name James Oakes. The address on the book was Breckey Ley (formerly called Brakeley House) It forms part of the wider Nowton Estate. This was in the ownership of the Oakes family for over 150 years. Breckey Ley was built around 1880 as the dower house for Nowton Court and occupied by the family ever since.
Henry James Oakes (born 1796 in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk; died 1875 in Nowton, Suffolk) was an English first-class cricketer. He is recorded as a batsman for Cambridge University in one match in 1819, totalling 6 runs with a highest score of 5 not out.[1]
Oakes’ family lived at Nowton Court, Nowton, Suffolk, near Bury St Edmunds. He was educated at Reading School, Bury St Edmunds Grammar School and Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He inherited Nowton Court in 1837 and became lord of the manorof Nowton.[2] He was head of his family’s bank, Oakes, Bevan & Co. (later Oakes, Bevan, Tollemache & Co., taken over in 1900 by Capital and Counties Bank, which was acquired by Lloyds Bank in 1918[3]). He was mayor of Bury St Edmunds in 1844 and High Sheriff of Suffolk in 1847.[4]

The piece I refer to is pictured below. It is a fine and rare early 18th Century Walnut Bureau Cabinet in figured walnut having superb colour and patina with original glass plates. The drawer linings are in oak, they are wonderfully clean and completely original. The cabinet interior is fitted with the most amazing arrangement of drawers with a shaped door to the centre. The bookcase has been made in three sections which is consistent with many of the finest quality examples of the period. The interior of the middle section contains some nicely made secret drawers. The back boards are all original.
We have not seen an interior quite like this before, it was probably specially commissioned for a wealthy customer who was possibly Lord of the Manner at Nowton.
The quality of the craftsmanship and unique interior along with the selection of superbly figured veneers suggest that this piece was an important commission.

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Portable furniture in 18th century

Coaching tables were made and designed for travel and the outdoors. A piece that could be folded up and carried easily. You can imagine this one being used for lunch while on a long journey or on a Grouse shoot. Remarkably this one is in original condition and is quite rare being made from Cherrywood. A Lot of thought went into the construction, A loose  dovetail was added to the top of the swinging leg to stop the table from moving much when opened out. The base is of solid construction with the straight legs given a nice little hollow mold for decoration. The other nice thing about this little table is the colour it has achieved over the years ,its a wonderful patina and it really dose glow. I hope you enjoy looking at it as much as we do.

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18th Century Walnut Stool

I believe very few of these interesting and nicely shaped stools were made. This example probably came  from the same workshop as the one photographed in the revised dictionary of English furniture. The Lovely shape of the saddle seat is very pleasing on the eye.

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Queen Ann Walnut

In the late 17th and early 18th century the fashion for Walnut furniture reached its height. This is a very good example of a Queen Ann Kneehole desk circa 1710. It retains all its original veneer and has only minor patches. Note the craftsman has chosen his wood carefully using highly figured Walnut or what some describe as root walnut, probably because this figured wood is often found at the base of the tree. The desk has a boldly shaped ogee Freeze to the center that is typical of the period ,the shape is repeated on the bracket feet which amazingly are original with repairs to the tips. The handles are replaced with very good quality copy’s of handles you would find at this period. A herring bone banding runs around the drawers and top ,with a cock bead round the edge of the drawers. The oak linings are in lovely clean condition, neatly dovetailed together in the traditional manor. The proportions of the desk are small it is only 29″ wide.

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Burr walnut Chest of Small Proportions

It is rare to find an early 18th century walnut chest of drawers of such small size , especially one in much sort after Burr Walnut. The handles have been replaced in keeping with the period, The Drawers are in good clean condition and lined in Oak. The Caddy top is an interesting feature and was fashionable in the George 1st period when this chest was made. The proportions of the chest work very well with the brushing slide and nicely graduating drawers.

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Chippendale Chairs

These Chairs are a particularly fine example of 18th century chair making in the manner of Thomas Chippendale. The splats are excellently executed by the highly skilled carver who has achieved a fine elegant appearance. This is in part achieved by the sharp angle on the chambered backs. The quality of the mahogany and the colour they have attained over the years is superb. They would have been commissioned  for an important house of the period.

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A Fine and impressive George 11 Gilt Wood Mirror in the manner of William Kent. Ornately Decorated with egg and dart molding, foliage and Venus shell with scrolled swan neck pediment centered with a superbly carved cartouche and plume. The beveled plate is possibly re silvered or replaced. The Mirror is in very good condition retaining most of its wonderful bright original gilding.

122 x 70

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Hepplewhite Mahogany Armchair

A Fine and rare 18th Century Hepplewhite Armchair of superb design and craftsmanship. We believe this chair to have been made in the same workshop as the one described and photographed in Arther Negus book: going for a song. Negus talks of the skill of the carver ,the swags of drapery so light that they really look like material. The arms ,look at this little shaped arm here , carved with blue bell drops or husks. The result has been to reduce the arm from a massive heavy support into a slim graceful shape.
He talks of the amount of wood taken away to produce such a light elegant yet very strong chair. Note that the chair pictured in Negus book is missing its carved flowers at the top of the legs, these were probably damaged and then removed.

Price £2,600

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The Art Of The Chair-maker In The 18th Century

This is a rare example of a 1760s Chippendale chair, having a carved cresting rail and splat, well shaped arms and supports , blind fret square chamfered legs and pierced stretchers. Made from quality west Indian mahogany rarely found in later 19th century pieces , you can usually tell an 18th century piece of mahogany simply by its weight.

The chair has a well shaped cresting rail molded and reeded forming in the up turned ends O G shapes and scrolls , the reed terminating in a tassel which encroaches onto the splat.

The profile of the O G shape at the end of the crest is exactly the same as the capitals on 17th century carved columns. The vase shaped splat combines both the classical C scrolls and  swags with the Gothic which the 18th century chair makers combined so successfully. The splat flows nicely into the molded and curved shoe at the bottom.

The front square chamfered  legs have a blind fret applied ,the chamfer gives them a lighter appearance. They are Joined by elegant pierced stretchers.

The joints are mostly mortice and tenon, the exception being the arms to the back legs which is a hidden dovetail and the arm supports to the rails being a half lap. The center stretcher dovetails down into the side rails except for the front edge where it forms a V joint. Unlike the country elm, ash, and oak chairs pegs were rarely used with the mortice and tenon joints.


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Mahogany The Cabinet Makers Wood

Fashion changed in the early 18th century away from Walnut as the wood of choice to Mahogany a much more stable timber, easier to work and vastly superior when it came to carving , fine English furniture was born. Furniture became more delicate, bold moldings applied to the carcass were replaced by fine molds applied to the drawer fronts, these are often referred to as lip molds, they are a quarter round bead that runs around the drawer edge. The kneehole desk below is lovely example of early English mahogany furniture in its original condition, circa 1740. It retains all its original handles, locks and what would even appear to be the original key. Look how incredibly clean the highly figured oak draw linings are. Note also the fine dovetail joints typical of the piriod and a move away from the larger dovetails used in the late 17th century. The photo showing the underneath of the desk  is a good example of how a piece from this period should look it has all its original feet and blocks and has never been altered , note the setting out marks for the drawer divisions and the four original nails the craftsman has used to help fix them in palce. also note the original red wash that was often used on quality mahogany furniture on the pine undersides. You can see the two of the dovetails used to join the ends to the bottom although they are mostly covered by the blocks.

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Queen Ann Cabinet Work

We were fortunate enough to find a Queen Ann Bureau of Small proportions recently. Over the Years these rare small pieces have always proved much more desirable than there larger more common counterparts. We have always said that anything around 30″ wide is the magic size. I think one of the reasons is that people can find space for a small piece but also true is that the proportions work well at this size when it has been designed properly and the piece often looks much more attractive.The Queen Ann cabinet maker was in general a very skilled one. The construction of the bureau is fairly typical of the better quality work of this period with the top and bottom being dovetailed into the sides. the sides are rebated in order to take the back boards and dust boards, those being the divisions between the drawers. The drawers are dovetailed together and the interior is rebated and v jointed at the front edge. The Bureau has Bun feet that are throw back to the William and Mary period that can only have ended a few years before this piece was made. The double bead molding on the front of the carcass is a feature of the queen Ann period, as is the bold O G waist mold. The fall opens to reveal a stepped interior and sliding well, another feature of this early period.




Latest Stock

We have in the last couple of months been fortunate to buy three early Oak Coffers in the kind of condition we really always want to see them in. That is completely original, without repair. In fact all three have retained there original hinges. We were also delighted to obtain a wonderfully figured Walnut Gorge 1st bureau of lovely small proportions. An incredibly rare feature of this piece is the fact that it is veneered mostly on Mahogany which would normally of course be an indicator that it had been veneered later, but not in this case. close examination showed that the veneer was in fact without question completely original to the piece. further proof of this was the fact that the ends are veneered on pine and the feet veneered on a mixture of woods. The interior being made completely in walnut with no signs of alterations further proved that this had indeed always been a walnut Bureau and a very fine one at that.