Offered for sale is an early unorthodox piece of furniture which began life in the mid-17th century as a large coffer for storing and securing household valuables, but within the next 50 or 75 years was installed on a frame with thick round legs connected by massive stretchers all around. The top which originally opened like a blanket chest on forged clinch-nail hinges was permanently secured shut, and the three carved panels on the front were separated and hinged to open frontally. By raising the chest somewhat over its original height on stumpy square legs and modifying access from the front instead of the top they changed the utility from a chest to a cabinet. This example of early adaption to a changing lifestyle is more common than most collectors and dealers know (or care to admit) and certainly must be admired for its ingenuity rather than scorned as a "marriage".
The construction is a marvel of some of the earliest extant furniture making techniques--practically a survey course in "how it was done" before the Victorians discovered the glue pot and the industrial revolution replaced true hand craftsmanship. The boards were cut from ancient hardwood trees with axes and pit-sawed to dimension, dressed with adzes, joined by mortise and tenon joints, and blacksmith-forged hardware secured by handmade triangular iron nails. Smoothed with hand-planes,pumice and rotten-stone with oil, and stained with organic dyes, the resultant color plus a couple of centuries wear yields the incomparable patina you see today. In furniture this old it is difficult to determine the exact woods used due to darkening and other factors. Coffers of this period on the Continent and England were generally comprised either of oak or chestnut for their strength, beauty and availability.
As you can see from the pictures the piece serves as buffet-cum-stereo cabinet and has not been modified internally in any way to permanently damage it. It makes an excellent sideboard for dining room serving.
Its dimensions are 54" wide, 20-1/2" deep and 37" tall and weight is about 200 lbs. Although it could be shipped by freight at significant expense we suggest arranging pickup here in Richmond, Virginia.
We will also deliver it for $150 anywhere within 200 miles of Richmond.
If you would like to see it in person, please call 804-859-4000 to arrange an appointment.
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Period Furnishings, Fine Art & Artifacts,
Originally established as a Richmond store, Cary is now selling exclusively online through Ruby Lane!