Today we are sharing a piece that has recently arrived in the gallery. This magnificent William & Mary walnut chest on stand features a lid inlaid with an oval pattern top with chevron stringing with quartering.
The lid opens to reveal a lined compartment, and below is a single long drawer. The chest stands on a barley twist base with crossbanded stretchers and bun feet. The chest retains its original gilt brass handles and escutcheons.
This type of chest on stand was referred to as a ‘lace chest’ as it was used for the storage of fine textiles, which were highly expensive and therefore were stored in pieces of prominence.
In a book published in 1899 entitled Point and Pillow Lace: A Short Account of Various Kinds Ancient and Modern, and How to Recognise Them, Mary Sharp describes a lace chest as follows:
The upper part was intended to hold the lace pillow, while the drawers below were meant to take the bobbins and patterns.
While the oak example published in the book is similar in form, our walnut example is a much more refined piece with its barley twist stand and magnificent walnut veneers. Although it may not be needed for the storage of lace any more, it is a timeless piece suited for any interior with age, character, and charm.