A new feature on pieces from our collection which are rare, unusual or both. A brief insight into why slightly quirky artworks have collecting appeal.
This fine George I walnut & feather banded bachelor chest from around 1720, might look at first glance nothing out of the ordinary, but taking a closer look you will notice a very unusual cushion shaped frieze under the folding top which as a design element harks back to the turn of the previous century, say from around 1700. Why has this been incorporated into the design when other design elements point directly to a period 20 years later? The answer is that we cannot be certain, but thoughts of ourselves and colleagues who have examined it closely, is that this little chest has been made to suit the whim of an aristocratic owner, who perhaps liked the cushion shape and for practicality almost certainly wanted to use his bachelor chest as a writing desk as well as for storage.

When the two sideways opening drawers in the cushion are opened, things start to make a little more sense. With a single central loper to the front of the frieze to support the opened top and in the oak lining of the right hand drawer the staining of years of ink spillages into the bottom of this drawer with the shadow of where dividers once were to hold the ink bottle in position.

We can surmise then that is delightful little piece, which retains virtually identical proportions to a bachelor chest without the cushion draw, was designed exactly as the our supposed eccentric whim may suggest - as a small dual purpose writing desk and chest for our young country gent who had just moved to rather cramped accommodation in the city.

Click the image above to view full details on millingtonadams.com.