A late 18th century serpentine chest of drawers in mahogany attributed to Gillows
The top drawer includes various compartments for writing and a writing slide that is leather covered. On the side of the top drawer is a slide out small drawer for ink. The top finish damage has been repaired.
The serpentine shaped top, veneered in beautiful mahogany with boxwood and ebony line stringing, above the four long graduated book-veneered drawers, retaining the original brass handles; the top drawer mahogany lined, fitted with partitions and lidded compartments beneath an original baize-lined writing or brushing slide. The front is flanked by slim canted corners; the shaped moulding runs along the bottom edge, the whole is raised on four slender downswept bracket feet.
The backboard is triple-panelled, as often seen on high-quality furniture of the 18th century.
The striking resemblance of the present chest to the Gillows’ drawings, as well as a number of constructional and design features, common with the documented examples, including the elegant outswept feet, referred to by Gillows as ‘French’ feet, and a triple-panelled backboard, make this attribution to the Gillows firm fairly certain. The present piece’s exceptional quality, smart choice of veneers and pleasing proportions are also typically associated with Gillows’ work.
A closely related example, stamped Gillows, but with a more modest bow front (see L.Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs, plate 118), was sold at Christie’s South Kensington, 24 May 2011, lot 317. For further related serpentine-fronted example attributed to Gillows, see Bonhams, 11 March 2015, lot 95; and Sotheby’s, 15 May 2014, lot 308.
Established in the 1735 , Gillows of Lancaster are among the few most celebrated English furniture makers, famed for their use of fine timbers and exceptional quality of craftsmanship.