An exceptional, mid-18th century, oak, cupboard base dresser with rack
Length 231 cm., 7ft. 7 in., Height 199 cm., 6 ft., 6.5 in., Depth 50 cm., 1ft., 7.75 in.
In two parts. The original rack with an unusually deep, ogee moulded cornice with a central, projecting moulding and tablet. The frieze is again unusually decorated with very fine fretwork which was the height of fashion and more is more commonly seen on the best pieces of Georgian mahogany furniture at this time. This decoration is repeated down the front at either end, and the sides are plain with moulded returns.
The rack has three shelves, unusually, in graduating depth, presumably to compensate for the different sizes of plates that would have been on display. This ingenious feature is elegantly finished with a return on the sides of the bottom two shelves. The cabinet maker has put great thought into finishing this by adding a tapering knob where the top two shelves abut the fretwork on the sides to finish the decoration.
The cupboard has a two plank top with a moulding at the back, presumably for displaying cups, and a solid ogee moulded edge on the front and sides. The front has three large and three small drawers above three large cupboards with moulded panels interposed. The drawers all retain their original, Chippendale brass handles and escutcheons and original locks. The drawers are lined in oak and have been re-run. The small drawers are, unusually, decorated either side with ogee mouldings featuring carved flowerheads at the top and Tudor roses at the bottom.
There is a deep, ogee moulding separating the drawers and the cupboards. The moulded panel doors have later locks and two original escutcheons, one is lost, and show signs of having been fitted with knobs at some point. The hinges are later. The interior of each cupboard is fitted with a pine shelf. The moulded panels are a most unusual feature and very fine. The sides are plain with return mouldings, but the corners of the dresser are, unusually, chamfered with small turnings. The dresser sits on a deep, base moulding. The carcass is pine. The colour and patina are exceptional. The dresser came from a deceased estate just outside Newbury.
Moulded panels, and waist mouldings support the traditional fashion that goes back to the 17th century, but the unusual fine, features like the fretwork, Chippendale handles, and chamfered corners show contemporary influences from the middle of the 18th century and give this dresser a unique character.
Reference : 18th century English Furniture, The Norman Adams Collection, page 242. The Welsh Dresser & Asssociated Cupboards (T Alun Davies). Antique Finder/Collecting Volume 7, number 8 and Volume 8, number 1 (Tom Crispin).
This post was written by joecollinson