Norfolk Serpentine Chest

Any serpentine chest from the 18th century is rare. This one is exceptional. First one notices the wonderful serpentine front and top. However, the eye quickly jumps to the bell flower inlay that runs the full height of the case.Look closely at the detail in the inlay. While it does show a bit of wear here and there, it is delightful. This long bell flower inlay with the serpentine front is one of many characteristic that indicate a Norfolk origin. Look closely at the sides. Notice how they go straight back but the top bulges out. What a great detail! This gives the illusion that the chest’s sides swell and curve when they don’t. This piece is attributed to the Norfolk area of Virginia, this piece comes from a group that has significant English influence. (Neoclassic Furniture of Norfolk, Virginia, 1770-1820”, with Ronald L. Hurst, in Magazine Antiques (May 1990)) Made out of many secondary woods including yellow pine, poplar, and spruce, it is actually veneered. (Another trait of Norfolk. If one desires more details on the construction feel free to contact us. It really is fascinating.) This piece has been restored previously. The work includes replaced hardware and refinishing. The feet are replaced and look good. Conforming to the shape of the chest would make feet a challenge. The last  repair is along the back rear edge. My best guess is that a frame fell and hit it. The repair is not easy to notice when looking at the chest from straight on but becomes more visible when looking at it from a side view. The chest is great size at 44 ¼” wide, 23 ¾” deep, and 38 ½” tall. (Please note that the case isn’t that wide, only the top is. It has good proportions.) Attributed to Norfolk, Virginia. Circa 1805.

Price: $3995.


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