The chest of drawers had been manufactured in England since the beginning of the 18th century however until the Victorian era, remained very much the furniture of the wealthy. Early Queen Anne examples were made of walnut veneered onto Baltic pine, and drawer linings were made of oak. Mahogany was then substituted when walnut became scarce from the 1730s onwards. The bow-front became fashionable from the middle of the century around 1760. Typically it had four graduated drawers, the slimmest on top and the deepest at the bottom.
A typical Victorian revival example of these earlier bow-fronted chests a hundred years later, is covered with thin machine cut layers of mahogany again fitted onto pine carcasses like the earlier hand made examples, and often edged with cock beading and inlaid with contrasting thin stringing, usually walnut with handles of machine stamped brass. Now most parts of this chest were made by machine. The bow front was steamed and clamped; the dovetails were machine sawed, as was any turning, planning or moulding that was used to produce the finished chest. As machining became more sophisticated, the bows often became more accentuated and machine turned wooden knobs eventually replaced the stamped brass handles. Finely finished, these pieces, although machine made, were still elegant pieces of furniture.
Many thousands of these chests were made although as tastes changed towards the middle of the 20th century, many were stripped of their thin mahogany veneers to expose the pine carcasses beneath which were then waxed.
For Victorian antique chests in Lancashire or Cumbria, speak to a reputable antique furniture dealer.
No comments yet.