Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Some things just HAVE to come home with you . . .

. . . and this was one of them, a honey oak chest on stand, dating from about 1700.  We spotted it at the local auction last Saturday, when we popped in first thing to view.  It had some faults (you can spot there are a couple of areas on the left of the bottom drawers where something was spilt down it, so my OH will have to rub that down and oil it.) It is minus the pad feed on the Cabriole legs, and we need to replace drawer runners (which were on the SIDE of the drawers and not beneath, at this period in time). However, we thought if it went at the right price, it was worth investing in it as I was short on space for clothes storage and it was "our sort of thing".

As you can see, it is very much in residence, so it DID come at the right price!  In fact, hammer price was £90 (plus 15% on top for buyer's premium).  Looking at the construction of those Cabriole legs I do wonder if whoever made this had ever seen that style of leg before or just been drawn a little sketch. Certainly, once such a style became all the rage, Cabriole legs were very much more stylized than this.  Actually, I prefer these to the later skinny ones.

As you can see, in between photos we had a change of wooden ships, and prefer the larger one.

As is often the case, there have been several changes of handle to follow changing fashions.  It would appear it was restored around the turn of the 19th into 20th Century, and these pewter Arts & Crafts handles fitted, at the same time as a new back.  We may change back to the style of brass handle it would originally have had but those alone will cost as much or more as the chest on stand, so that can wait.

Of course, it was designed for cats to lurk under.  Little Whale was soon in residence!

We buy history.  It thrills us to think that the oak trees which were felled to make this piece of furniture around 1700 were saplings at the time of Agincourt, growing when Henry VIII was a lad, saw him married and succeeded by Elizabeth 1, and saw the rise and fall of the Stuarts.  It then became a piece of Georgian furniture and here it is being used in the second Elizabethan period . . .

Oh, and in between bidding for it (on the phone, go me!!) and paying for it, we did a car boot sale, and cleared several more piles and boxes of surplus "stuff" before getting rained off, and took sufficient money to pay for this item in cash next day.  So it feels as if it were almost free . . .


  1. That's a beautiful piece of furniture. How wonderful to think of the history behind it. I like that it was 'free'. I have been selling things too and will get my 'free' thing this weekend. It also has four legs but it's not furniture. X

  2. What an amazing treasure, it is beautiful:) I have been drooling over your last post . . . whoever it is that pokes fun for British cooking , has never visited your kitchen. Yum!!!

  3. Hi both. Glad you like it. I've seen far more elegant chests on stands, but this one connects you to the man who made it and the oak is just wonderful.

    Jules - ooh, will have to come and check out what the four legs belong to!

    Connie - Never let it be said that us Brits can't bake up a storm! There are many regional recipes for main meals of course, and our breads - whilst there aren't dozens of different sorts, are wholesome and filling, but I think we really go to town with cakes and buns.

  4. I have chest envy, I love wood and old polished items are the best, beautiful colour.

  5. Love the way you wrote this post, what a wonderful bargain and piece of history. I too Love auctions but haven't been to one in years.

  6. MMC - I think so too. I keep looking at it and thinking, that just looks so perfect for this house!

    Marlene - I will give it a good polish with beeswax polish (homemade) when my OH has sorted out the duff bits on it.

    DD - Glad you enjoyed it. We just LOVE history and I would love to know what this has seen in the houses it's lived in. Lives, loves, weddings, babies, deaths, sadness and happiness. All ingrained in that wood.

  7. Love it, but then I love old furniture, too! But are you going to leave that white bookcase next to it? If you are, perhaps that would look better with a coat of paint to make it not stand out quite as strongly? I hope you don't mind this suggestion, we each decorate our homes in the way we want to, but I think toning the white down might benefit both pieces of furniture, maybe even a dusky blue to tone with your carpet?
    Margaret P

  8. Hello and welcome galant, the bookcase is where it has always lived and I have two others to empty then sell before I can move that in their place. Then the chest on stand will be alone on that wall. We had no room for it elsewhere, and I didn't fancy emptying/moving the coffer opposite it (although, thinking on it, that is probably the best place for our new acquisition.) I shall have to wait until I have a fit of the "move-its" as my friend calls that inspiration to move things around!

  9. This is really lovely! I do agree about the sense of history it has lived through enhancing the value for you, personally.

  10. Mike Oldfield's Blue Peter theme just went straight through my head!

  11. A glorious piece of history, it is sometimes the imperfections that make these lovely things so precious.Now that it has received the approval of the cats you know that it belongs with you.

  12. Kristi - I think the word is historicity which means being part of history. Some pieces of furniture seem to almost speak to you.

    Simon - good one! The big ship was a present from OH to himself, paid for partly in a traded item and topped up with a little cash, It is LOVELY. The little one needs the rigging sorting out.

    Pam - Isn't it? Cats are great ones for giving the seala of approval!

  13. Up-date - OH prompted the move-its today and coffer and chest on stand have swopped places, the tatty bookcase in bedroom 5 is emptied and and pile of books to be sold, and the landing bookcase tucked away behind the door there. After a long walk this morning, I am shattered and going to give myself the afternoon off!

  14. Hi BB

    What a wonderful find. I can quite see why you snapped it up. Nice deep drawers as well. I love proper wooden furniture. From mum's recently I have liberated the piano stool, a pine blanket chest with candle box intact (I think it is a reproduction) a tall table that my Nan used to keep the television on and which in fact is an early flat pack piece of furniture and my Great Aunt's silk lined sewing box. I just wish the house was bigger so I could take advantage of a few more lovely pieces.Not as grand as yours though but has memories. Hope you are keeping well. I keep having internet problems its a bit hit n spit if I can get online. Take care.



  15. Hi Pattypan, sorry you are still having internet probs. Glad you got some well-loved pieces from your mum's. I am sure they hold a lot of memories, especially that sewing box.