Featured Is This An Oak Coffer?

Discussion in 'Furniture' started by TraceyB, Oct 17, 2020 at 8:37 AM.

  1. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    Hi,
    I am hoping someone can please help me date this chest. I think it is a coffer chest. It has a narrow box inside with a lid which I think was used to store taper candles but I am very much a novice!!! The hinges look very rustic and not at all modern. Any info would be wonderful.
    Thank you.
     

    Attached Files:

  2. Marie Forjan

    Marie Forjan Well-Known Member

    Hi Tracy, the furniture people will need measurements :)
     
  3. Fid

    Fid Well-Known Member

    tell us a bit more - where are you ? where bought ? etc..
    just to exclude such ideas like Welsh Borders. :)
     
  4. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    I live in Western Australia. My Grandmother left it to me and she lived in Axminster Devon. However, I understand her family was from Birmingham. My Grandmother emigrated to Australia approx 30 years ago when Grandad passed. The piece has a very rustic feel to it. Hard to describe but it certainly isn't a sophisticated piece. My Grandparents lived in South America for many years but I'm not sure that helps!! Dad recently passed aged 89 and he has told me he can remember the piece from when he was a child.
     
  5. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Yes, in England called a coffer chest, in USA a blanket chest.
    It's a late 17th century english boarded coffer chest in style, is it period? maybe.
    The "narrow box inside" is called a till, used for storing small objects as well as a prop to keep the lid open.
    The hinges are called "snipe" hinges or cotter pin.
     
    TraceyB, Bakersgma, Aquitaine and 3 others like this.
  6. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    Would better images help?
     
  7. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Interesting, the carvings on the top rail are very similar to joiner shops in Devon.

    Always!
     
    kyratango likes this.
  8. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    Gosh. That's older than I thought and also a long way from home!!! What I do love about this piece is the fact that it is rustic and has stood the test of time. I want to gift it to my nephew and would like to share a little history if possible.
     
  9. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    it's getting late in Western Australia so I will pick this thread up in the morning. Incredibly interesting and thank you everyone for your comments.
     
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  10. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    Well, it may not be period, the style are carving are but that doesn't mean the chest is, Period = built in the late 17th century. They are still making these chests today built by hand with the same tools as back in the day.
     
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  11. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Over here, where this started its life, the interior boxes are candle boxes. Much more the comon term than a till, those are the wooden drawers used in shops. Google on oak coffer candle box, you'll find plenty in the UK.

    for example: https://www.salisburyantiquescentre...offer-with-candle-box/prod_17985#.X4sTznV7mM8

    I suspect yours once looked similar to this, with plain central panels, and just that border carving:

    [​IMG]




    I say that because the carved motifs on those panels look rather more late 19th/early 20th and they don't match the style of the borders. They're very well done though. Someone decided to embellish it.
     
    Fid likes this.
  12. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    Thank you everyone for your comments. It seems the age of the coffer will remain a mystery, however, I have learnt a great deal more about it.
     
    James Conrad likes this.
  13. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    No problem, happy to assist in providing some info. I only know about Devon (Devonshire) England because Thomas Dennis & William Searle apprenticed there as joiners before immigrating to America in the 17th century.
    They were both joiners & master carvers however, Searle died in 1667 at age 33. Dennis was the executor of his estate and after Searle’s death he moved to Ipswich from Boston, took over his joinery trade (including tools, which makes it even harder to distinguish between their work) – and a year later he married Searle’s widow, Grace. Searle and Dennis are considered to be the foremost 17th century joiners in the English colonies of America – quite a distinction for the town of Ipswich Mass.
    A couple examples of their work

    Thomas Dennis carved chest, notice the top rail carving
    click to enlarge

    dennischest-museum (1).jpg

    William Searle

    searleR.jpg
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 4:23 AM
    Houseful likes this.
  14. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    Yes, the top rail carving is very similar. If there was a makers mark where would it be located?
    To add to the intrigue I lifted the brown paper on the bottom of the chest and found it was used to wrap a parcel sent to my grandmother. I was hoping I could make out the date on the stamps but will need a magnifying glass!! The parcel was posted to her address in Cobham Surrey which is where they lived before moving to Devon.
    I have attached a couple of pics of the paper.
     

    Attached Files:

  15. Any Jewelry

    Any Jewelry Well-Known Member

    It is a beautiful coffer, Tracey. Full image always helps:

    [​IMG]
    It could be of personal interest to you, but I don't think the stamps will help you date the coffer.

    I am intrigued by what looks like the remains of painting though. That is usually an indication of the period.
    The others haven't commented on it, so maybe I am seeing things that aren't there, or maybe they haven't seen it due to the thumbnail photos.
    So here it is, I see red, white, and possibly ochre:

    upload_2020-10-18_12-30-53.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2020 at 9:19 AM
    Houseful likes this.
  16. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

    I hadn't noticed that previously. I will check in the light of day in the morning. Thank you!
     
    Any Jewelry likes this.
  17. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    There won't be one, that was very rarely done back then, the only way to ID is from construction details & provenance.
     
  18. TraceyB

    TraceyB Member

  19. James Conrad

    James Conrad Well-Known Member

    These chests sometimes have the date and initials carved into them but those are of the client/customer, never the joiner who built & carved the chest.
     
  20. Ownedbybear

    Ownedbybear Well-Known Member

    Stamps don't have dates, but the postmark might. In any event, those are 1950s ones, the first with QEII on.

    Older chests did often have polychrome painting, so @Any Jewelry may have found you a useful clue. I do still think those centre panels were done later,but see if there's paint signs on them.
     
    Any Jewelry likes this.
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