Published 19th April 2013
Chests of drawers as we know them are the direct descendants of the simple coffer, which furnished many homes from the 17th century and before. Oak coffers and plank chests are regular features of Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's auctions and can be purchased for relatively modest amounts considering their age and quality. The introduction of drawers to the base of the simple coffer produced what is now known as a mule chest. Then the logical progression was a chest entirely fitted with drawers. Antique chests of drawers are of course now more widespread and valuable because of their continued usefulness in the modern home and, although simpler Victorian ones have suffered in value recently due to fashion, decorative and high quality pieces still attract attention. One style which remains popular is the serpentine fronted chest of drawers, such as FS18/889 in Bearnes Hampton & Littlewood's Fine Furniture Auction on the 25th April 2013
A George III mahogany serpentine fronted chest (FS18/889)
These chests have always been considered more desireable than their flat or bow-fronted equivalents and examples in good original condition, especially if of modest size, can fetch several thousands of pounds. This particular example is not of the smallest type, but still has attractive proportions and very little alteration or restoration (apart from replaced handles on the bottom drawer). With very little further attention it would be a stunning piece of fine furniture due to its attractive design and well-figured mahogany. It carries a pre-sale estimate of £1,500-£2,000.