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Charles II Chest

The main attribute of this chest is a spectacular set of ‘oyster’ veneers. These are produced by slicing obliquely across a large branch – in a manner reminiscent of chopping up a piece of French bread – which produces an oval pattern that resembles the shell of an oyster.

He most distinctive of these oyster veneers used to be called laburnum the trade but this wisdom was challenged in a recent book by Dr Adam Bowett, who showed that many of these specimens of ‘laburnu’ were in fact either cocus wood or princeswood, bothe very dense tropical hardwoods

With the help of Dr Bowett, I have tentatively identified the oyster veneers on this chest as cocus wood, but it could be princeswood (later known as Kingwood). The surface is remarkably undisturbed for a piece dating from around 1670 and the metalwork retains most of its fire gilding.

It stands 21”wide, 12” deep and is 18” high on bun feet, with a pair of doors enclosing two short and two long drawers.

 
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