Thomas Chippendale: A George III Mahogany Chest of Drawers
england , circa 1760
A fine George III Chippendale period mahogany chest of drawers; the moulded serpentine top above four graduated shaped drawers with gilt bronze foliate handles and escutcheons, the top drawer fully fitted with dressing compartments and a fold away mirror under a brushing slide, standing on four exaggerated ogee bracket feet.
Private Collection, UK
Height: 32.28 in (82 cm) Width: 38.39 in (97.5 cm) Depth: 23.43 in (59.5 cm)
Mahogany serpentine chests of drawers have become synonymous with 18th century English furniture of the Chippendale period. Whilst there is no immediate design for them offered in Chippendale’s 1754 Director, there are plates which show much grander variations from which this more utilitarian form of furniture must have derived: plates LXII – LXX. By 1762 and in line with the prevailing taste, Ince and Mayhew in their Universal System of Household Furniture had produced a much closer and more recognisable design (plate XLIII).
Close comparisons can be made to examples known to have been supplied by Thomas Chippendale. A rosewood example was supplied in 1768 to Sir Edward Knatchbull for Mersham-le-Hatch, one in mahogany probably supplied circa 1770 to Lord Pembroke for Wilton House and a pair supplied to Ninian Home to Paxton House, Berwick in 1774. The pronounced angular bracket feet of this chest relate closely to the Mersham-le-Hatch example.
The type of escutcheon and handles used also link this chest to pieces known to have been supplied by Thomas Chippendale. The gilt metal handles can be seen on the breakfront bookcase supplied to Lord Dumfries for Dumfries House in 1759, with closely related variations being shown on Lord Pembroke’s ‘Violin’ Bookcase, and a secretaire-bookcase supplied in 1764 to Sir Lawrence Dundas. The same escutcheon can be found on a chest of drawers at Dumfries House.