This vibrantly decorated chest-on-stand is one of a known group almost certainly made in the same Channel Islands workshop in the mid 18th century.
Other examples were offered by Martel Maides of Guernsey (November 2002) and by Sotheby’s as part of the Tristram Jellinek collection in May 1996.
Two others were sold by Sotheby’s Sussex in 1990 including the chest now in the Guernsey Museum & Art Gallery in St Peter Port, Guernsey. This quartet were all principally made in pine, with ash or oak legs with Bonhams’ example the only one fashioned entirely in oak.
In an article written for the Regional Furniture Society Newsletter (Summer 1994), Christopher Gilbert suggests that the chests' painted design is derived from the 'ornamental nail patterns on leather covered trunks in vogue in the Channel Islands c.1680-1760'. These trunks, known as 'baheurs', were often made as bridal chests and incorporated symbolic betrothal decoration such as carnations and roses, along with ownership initials and a wedding date.
Chests of this type also provide a link between the British and European furniture traditions and America. Similar painted chests were made in central and coastal Connecticut, including those attributed to Charles Guillam (1671-1727) who was born in Jersey.
The chest was previously with Avon Antiques in Bradford-on-Avon and was purchased by the vendor from London’s Robert Young Antiques in 2002.