Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.



  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    1740-1746 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Flitcroft, Henry, born 1697 - died 1769 (designer)
    Hallett, William senior (maker)
    Boson, John (carver)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Mahogany and pine

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by C. D. Rotch

  • Museum number:

    W.74:1 to 4-1962

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, case 2 []

Object Type
The top of the chest is hinged and retains its original mahogany supporting arm. The front opens to reveal two drawers, with their original handles. The chest has been used extensively, probably to store clothes in a bedroom or dressing room. In August 1740, Lady Elizabeth Smithson described a 'large Mahogany Chest lind with Green Bays for My Cloathes', standing on one side of her bedchamber at Stanwick, Yorkshire.

Materials & Design
The carcase of the chest is pine. It is veneered on the lid, front and sides with high quality mahogany and the carved elements are in solid mahogany. The five pedestals support the heads of putti and are carved with acanthus foliage and an overlapping guilloche pattern. They are rest on plinths carved with paterae. Between the plinths there are carved C-scroll brackets, their spandrels carved with a diaper pattern. Above the pedestals is a shallow frieze with a floral Greek key pattern.

In the early 1740s, Anthony Ashley-Cooper, 4th Earl of Shaftesbury, commissioned the architect Henry Flitcroft to recreate the interiors at St Giles's House, Wimborne, Dorset. The house had been built in the 1650s and Flitcroft redesigned the state dining room, the Tapestry Room and the White Hall. A visitor in 1754 noted that they were 'finished in a very elegant manner'. Flitcroft was also involved with the decoration of Lord Shaftesbury's London house in Grosvenor Square. This handsome chest may have been supplied for use in London or at St Giles's.

Place of Origin

London (made)


1740-1746 (made)


Flitcroft, Henry, born 1697 - died 1769 (designer)
Hallett, William senior (maker)
Boson, John (carver)

Materials and Techniques

Mahogany and pine


Height: 86.5 cm, Width: 121.6 cm, Depth: 64.13 cm

Object history note

Made for the 4th Earl of Shaftesbury (1711-1771), possibly for his London house. Possibly designed by Henry Flitcroft (born in Hampstead, London,1697, died in London,1769) and made in the London workshops of William Hallett (about 1707-1781); the heads possibly carved by John Boson (active 1720 - after1743)

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This Palladian design for a commode was made in many variations. The heavy shape is divided by narrow scrolling pedestals based on ancient Roman term figures with carved heads. The oval panels are not Palladian and suggest that in the 1740s, when the commode was made, the influence of the new Rococo style was just coming in. [27/03/2003]


Furniture; British Galleries


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.