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Chest of drawers

Chest of drawers

  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1675-1700 (made)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Oak carcase and marquetry with walnut, bone and other woods (possibly rosewood, ebony, box and snakewood); iron drop handles

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by H. C. Coleman

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On display at Oak House, West Bromwich

On loan to Oak House Museum, West Bromwich

Physical description

Two stage chest on chest on bracket feet, the front with geometrical raised mouldings and marquetry of at least four woods (walnut, rosewood(?), ebony (?), box(?), snakewood(?) and bone in a design of eight octagons with eight-pointed stars and stylised tulips. The upper section consists of a dentil course below the overhanging top board, a narrow concealed frieze drawer above a deep single drawer and bobbin mid-rail (string course). The lower section contains two mid-sized drawers, on bracket feet which are presumed to be replacements. The sides are plain, panelled oak.

The carcase is made of oak. Pear shaped iron drop-handles. Key escutcheons of box(?). With a modern varnish (apparently discoloured on the sides).

The drawers are dovetailed oak, with oak bottom boards running front to back, nailed up. The sides are supported by a deep horizontal groove which meets an inserted batten fitted to the carcase (the large upper drawer has twin grooves on each side). There are no dust boards except under the upper section.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1675-1700 (made)

Materials and Techniques

Oak carcase and marquetry with walnut, bone and other woods (possibly rosewood, ebony, box and snakewood); iron drop handles


Height: 129 cm, Width: 116.5 cm, Depth: 62 cm

Object history note

Oak & marquetry chest of drawers, bequeathed by H C Coleman;
Notes from RP 50/517: Coleman left a number of items to the V & A, mostly from his house, Durford Rising, Durford Wood, Petersfield, Hants.

This chest of drawers is related to pieces of similar proportion - usually with twin hinged doors on the lower section enclosing drawers - and geometrical moulded decoration (along with the use of dovetails and marquetry) that were made from c1650, for example V&A 657-1883. This piece lacks the lower doors, and the split mouldings and use of engraved mother of pearl that also tend to characterise these pieces, though it may also use snakewood. The more austere design of the decorated front and the bone stringing probably suggest a date c1675-1700.

Historical context note

The marquetry appears to contain snakewood. For the use of snakewood on mid-17th century British chests of drawers of this type see: Bowett, Adam, 'The Age of Snakewood'. Furniture History, vol. XXXIV (1998), pp. 212-25

Descriptive line

Chest of drawers, overlaid with marquetry in flower and star motifs.


Walnut; Bone


Marquetry; Inlay




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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