This adorable piece is almost what we call in French "un meuble de maitrise": a miniature furniture piece that showcases the cabinetmaker's control over wood and his technical prowess as well. Difficult to construct because of their size and that of the fabrication details, this type of work requires remarkable concentration and patience, minutia and experience. This piece is simpler in construction and in details, and most likely would have been used to show a client a future project. This particular example dates to circa 1820 and could either be Charles X our Louis Philippe. This type of chest is called "a doucine". The term refers to the decorative plinth or moulding right below the chest's top. Here the banding is flat but it sometimes can be convex or concave. A hidden drawer is actually concealed in that wood banding and immediately below it are three drawers with their vertical row of single brass knobs. The knobs are edge with a tiny criss cross pattern around their edges.
The chest is fashioned in mahogany and the top is finished in a contrasting darker brown color that sometimes appears black. It is in beautiful condition, with a a few light surfaces scratches consistent with the age and wear of an object this age and with a mark from a sticky label that I haven't attempted to remove on the top . The last couple photographs are taken purposefully with really crude light and at an angle to highlight the scuffing and marks on the surfaces. There is a small glue trace on the surface top that can probably be removed but it is really very discreet!
It would be really special as a man's valet or treasure chest!
The chest measures 9 1/4" high and is 14 1/4" wide by 5 1/2" deep.