Diminutive 2 Part Cupboard

This piece is fantastic! There is so much to say it is hard to know where to start. First, is it a cupboard, a press, or a press cupboard? Technically, it would have been called a press when it was made but today many would call it a cupboard.Second, the size is amazing. It is only 72 5/8” tall (That’s 6’!), 49 5/8” wide, and 14 ½” deep. We have never seen a press of this size from this period and in this style. Normally, these are big, bulky pieces. Next, look at the carvings. They are bold and beautiful. Look at the detail and quality of the carvings. The work is symmetrical and stylish. A skilled hand made them for sure. Notice the date on the lower portion, 1779. WOW! One would think that would make dating this piece easy but does it? 

From a construction point of view this piece has some very unusual elements that are wonderful. First, look at the door and drawer configuration. It is always desirable to have drawers but rare for a press to have them. It separates into 2 pieces makes it easy to move too. This coupled with the petite stature make this piece very rare. Finally, the case is dovetailed. This seemingly common detail is not as common on early pieces like this as one would think. Look closely, at the dovetails on the bottom of the top case. They project out past the bottom. That’s right! The upper case rests on the dovetails!! 

This brings us to the most confusing part of this piece is dating it. One would think the “1779” date on the front would be the age but we are not so sure. The way the case is built and the rosehead nails point to a much earlier time period. There is a strong case to be made that this piece was made around 1700, or even earlier. If this true, then the panels might have been plain. If that is so, could the carvings would be 1779 embellishment. Maybe it was a gift, perhaps for some lucky bride or groom? Or, maybe the lady of the house wanted it updated or dressed up. Unfortunately, we will never know but it is a lot of fun to speculate. Regardless, this piece either dates 1779 or somewhere around 1700. What a wonderful dilemma.

A few last notes, the finish is old but probably not original. The feet and cornice are original but both have some repairs. (see pictures below) It should be noted that none of the hardware is original. Most of it appears to have been replaced during the earlier part of the 20th century. It is made out of English Oak. Overall, it is an outstanding and exciting piece.

Price: $3250

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