1775 "Museum Quality" Hepplewhite Gentleman's Chest American Federal Furniture Georgian
A World Class Historical Chest
A showpiece of "museum quality" Hepplewhite Gentleman's Chest..with Cuban Mahogany.. circa 1775
This piece is worthy of being showcased in a museum, based on its rarity,craftsmanship,style, and overall impression, including the highly figured "now extinct" Cuban Mahogany.I restore antiques and customize furniture. When I first laid eyes on this chest, I knew it was an amazing historic treasure, truly love at first sight.
I meticulously & lovingly restored it from top to bottom including structural as well as esthetic restoration including veneer restorations.. I have seen lots of chests, this one immediately stole my heart with it's wonderful cockbeaded drawer trim, 24 original hand made drawer pulls and tight grain gorgeous figured Cuban mahogany.
Cuban mahogany is known as the "Wood of Kings".It earned this title having been used to make beautiful furniture, paneling and works of art. for royalty for centuries.Cuban mahogany has been used in association with the White House in Washington, D.C.to panel some walls.
This is most likely a Hepplewhite style Gentleman's/dressing chest.It is made from the now extinct, gorgeous highly figured Cuban mahogany.This is some of the most beautiful wood I have ever laid eyes on. It is so tightly grained with gorgeous figuring(grain patterns), you will never find any wood today that comes close to this precious wood, it is extremely rare and awe inspiring.
As you can easily see the cabinetmaker who hand crafted this chest was not only a highly skilled craftsman, he was also an artist. You will notice the wonderful grain patterns he laid out across the chest front at 45 degrees.His selection of woods for the entire chest is amazing. The precise details such as the inlay/crossbanding on the lids of the fitted interior compartments as well as the keyway joinery on the fitted interior rear boxes and precisely fitted lids is stunning.The crossbanding on the lids is mahogany/kingwood, the string inlays are satinwood and ebony.Of course the drawer bottoms are all hand planed. The hand cut dovetail joinery on the drawers is second to none.All of the drawer boxes are made entirely from gorgeous solid mahogany,much of which is tiger/curly mahogany.
The drawer fronts are solid mahogany with the thick veneered figured mahogany.The drawers are entirely made from solid mahogany, including the front, back, sides and bottoms.A few drawer bottoms have age related shrinkage gaps. The solid pine 3/4 inch thick secondary wood makes up the the dust panels separating the drawers.The side panels of the chest are solid mahogany. The front frame horizontal member/drawer support is solid mahogany.
The lower middle drawer with the hand wrought solid copper wash basin/bidet which is coated in pewter on the visible side.The copper basin is one solid piece of seamless copper hand wrought and fitted.It is fitted in the hand dovetailed drawer support frame. The cock beading around all of the the drawer fronts is fantastic.
The chest has 4 rows of drawers with the uppermost drawers being facades, allowing for the fitted interior compartment.The cabinet maker missed no details, as he placed dummy locks for aesthetic purposes in these 3 top drawers & in 2 small lower drawers.The second row down has 3 individual drawers. The third row down is one large single drawer. The bottom row of drawers is 3 individual drawers, the middle drawer being the drawer which houses copper basin.The hardware is all original, it is solid cast brass with a silver/pewter inner portion. The hardware is all handmade including handmade brass nuts.The screws used by the cabinetmaker are all hand made and hand slotted (seen on the rear of the chest)
The rotating lid support is original and locks itself open when the top lid of the chest is opened all the way.This allows for a hands free operation to access the fitted interior.To close the lid you squeeze the brass support together to release the lock and close the lid, a great detail!
The front chest double bolt lock works perfectly which secures the top of the chest, securing access to the fitted interior.All of the locks work excellent with a period style iron key,one lock is missing. I love turning the key and hearing that "click" that only an antique lock can make.The solid brass inlaid keyhole covers add great detail. The ring pulls on the fitted interior lids are original.Notice all the details in the ring pulls and the back plates.There were originally 2 more lids for the fitted interior compartments.
The rear pair of boxes with lids reveal secret compartments when you lift out the boxes and the "false floors", a very excellent feature indeed. The second row middle drawer was custom fitted to allow for the secret compartments.The fitted interior has 2 round holes likely used to hold inkwells. There are ink stains in some areas of the fitted interior that I purposefully left in place adding charm, character and history.You can also see it suffered some fire damage on the rear of the chest, all part of its history.Made in the day when fireplaces were the source of heat, it probably caught a stray ember.There are a few cracks in the back panel.This piece has wear and age related character marks consistent with any fine antique chest, it is not a reproduction piece.
The 4 lids cover lids inside the fitted interior are beautifully crafted featuring Cuban mahogany with very tiny and precise string inlays of ebony paired with satinwood.The lids are crossbanded with beautiful striped mahogany. Of course the original brass ring finger pulls add the final detail to the lids.
Regal, as it sits high and proud atop its flared French feet.The sweeping graceful lines and scrolled trim detail of the feet is superb. The trim detail which wraps around the lower portion of the chest just above the flared feet is another great detail of this chest.
I hand restored this chest with the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.Fully respecting it as the historic treasure that it is, I hand restored the finish giving you the gorgeous results you can easily see in the photos, and preserving this chest for many generations to come.The adjustable writing surface is wonderful. The legs on the rear which support the writing surface adjust into hand carved rests for multi-position adjustments. The leather I replaced as well as the top show edge of the frame.The tiny solid cast bronze hinges on the writing surface support legs are detailed works of art in themselves.
The top and side panels of this chest are breathtaking with their rich beautiful Cuban mahogany. The left side panel has an age shrinkage separation.This chest was likely hand crafted around the time of the American Revolutionary War,before George Washington became the first president of the United States.This chest represents the finest in Historical American Craftsmanship & Beauty!!!
It was pure joy and a labor of love restoring this wonderful chest. I am very proud to offer you this fine chest. Perhaps this chest will grace your distinguished home.This is a museum quality piece, worthy of the most discriminating clients, in the same way it was surely made for a person of great means!........................kindest regards, Bryan
MY PHONE....847.917.8703....Bryan Stahl
Length of chest...42.5
Depth...widest point measured from the back to the lower portion of the flared feet...21
diameter of the drawer pulls...1 7/8
flared feet height..9.5
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