Mahogany Inlaid Wardrobe

7 ft. 3 ins. high • 3 ft. Q ins. wide x I ft. Ql ins. deep. Date about 1790.

Before considering the subject of the bedroom furniture of the Sheraton period, it would be as well to understand precisely what constituted the appointments of the bedchamber of this period. Bedsteads were still of the " four-post " kind, although the open or French type came into favour during the early years of the nineteenth century, when the " English Empire " of Thomas Hope came into vogue.

A wardrobe, generally of two doors, with trays behind and drawers below, the doors frequently hinged with " stopped butts " to open to a right angle only, fitted with runnei s on the inside to permit of the trays being withdrawn to the front of the doors without the weight breaking the slips away ; a " tallboy " chest as a pendant piece, made to correspond, although not to match, and sometimes a chest of drawers of the usual type, with the top drawer fitted with a writing slide, ink bottles, patch and powder boxes, &c.—these constituted the receptacles for holding garments. Dressing-tables were of two kinds, which were made indiscriminately for the use of both sexes. The first was the contained dressing-chest, on four tapered legs, with double boxed top, hinged to throw open on either side, beneath which was a framed mirror hinged 011 the front and strutted behind, and the usual patch and powder boxes. The second variety was the chest of drawers with a small cheval or box mirror made to stand on the top. Types of these mirrors are shown in Fig. 301. The washstand was nearly always a very insignificant piece of furniture, sometimes made to stand in a corner, and cut for a basin of the dimensions of a modern salad bowl. Considering that bathrooms were practically unknown and that washstands capable of holding basins of the size usual at the present day do not appear to have been made, one is lost in wonder as to how our eighteenth-century ancestors managed to keep themselves even decently clean. Perhaps the custom of rouging and powdering, practised by the exquisites of both sexes, acted as a substitute.

The hanging wardrobe, made to accommodate the hooped and flowing dresses of the ladies of this period, was an introduction of the Sheraton school, Hepplewhite confining himself to the type before referred to. During the earlier Chippendale period, the wardrobe in any form was a rare piece of furniture. One or two designs are given in the Director, but they do not appear to have been made to any extent, the " tallboy " chest fulfilling this function.

Fig. 302 is the more usual type of wardrobe of this period, a cupboard with two doors superimposed on a chest of drawers. The doors are framed, finishing with square edges 011 the inside, projecting one-eighth of an inch above the face of the panels, and friezed with cross-banded rosewood with holly lines on either side. The doors are framed up square, faced with thin mahogany, and veneered with mitred and cross-cut curl wood. The panels are each veneered with a complete curl, and are beaded in behind.

7 ft-»5 ins- high s 3 ft. I0J ins. wide x 1 ft. iof ins. deep. Date about 1790.

Fig. 304. .MAHOGANY WARDROBE.

In the possession 01 A. C. de Pinna, Ksq. 4 ft. oj in. wide (upper pail); 4 ft. 2 ins. wide (lower); S fl. 3-1 ins. total height. Lower pait. 3 ft. 4A ins. high. Upper part, 3 ft. 10J ins. high (without pediment). ,. „ I ft. t>} ins. deep. ,, „ 1 ft. "i- ins. deep.

D;ite nhniit 179(1.

The upper part is fitted with three sliding trays. Below are four drawers with brass ring-handles and flush escutcheons of ivory. The chest finishes in the usual type of French plinth.

In Fig. 303 the lower part has three drawers, enclosed by two doors, made to accord with those above, veneered with mitred satinwood inlaid with purple lines and fans of sand-shaded holly. The panels are inlaid with radiating fan-pieces of satinwood and purple-wood, the central ovals in the upper doors having a conventional shell of shaded chestnut, and patera circles in those below of the same wood. The slender " swan-necked " pediment of satinwood with mouldings of purple, finishing in paterae of holly, is typical of both the later Hepplewhite and the Sheraton periods. Although

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