James I joined oak chest with two drawers

Circa 1610
England, probably Midlands

W 46.5" × H 31.25" × D 21.75"

Stock # MARH0216


More information

James I joined oak chest with two drawers. Because of their original cost, and cultural factors as well, chests configured with drawers beneath a vertically accessible case appear to have been relatively rare before the mid-seventeenth century. Chests were a conservative furniture form that changed little over the centuries as furniture-making technology evolved. Most early seventeenth-century English households in which chests were the primary means of storage could not afford the additional labor involved in the construction of one or more drawers. Those households of greater means likely directed their spending power towards more socially significant furniture forms, like standing cupboards and cases of drawers. While by no means a high-status object, the multiple forms of ornament simultaneously employed on this chest (relief carving; applied, mitered moldings; inset, contrasting woods) indicate that it was relatively costly and important to its original owners. A closely related chest by the same shop or even the same artisan is illustrated in John C. Rogers, English Furniture, revised and enlarged by Margaret Jourdain, p. 4, fig. 6. Faces of front stiles incised with initials ‘EB’; branded ‘WC’ on face of proper-right front stile. Old refinish; drawer liners replaced.