Jan & John Maggs

Antiques and Art

17th-century English oak three-panel coffer with heavy, shaped lid and hidden interior shelves

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An early oak coffer with three undecorated panels on its face and a single panel on each end.

Above the panels on the face is a carved frieze with nulling and a simple planed moulding. The same moulding plane was used on the lower rail, while another was used on both edges of the two legs and the vertical stiles holding the panels. Rails and stiles are further embellished with light chisel strokes that produce short, parallel pairs of lines. These lines appear again on the lid, where they alternate with small X’s.

The lid was chamfered before being decorated, adding a semblance of lightness to the very heavy single-plank oak lid. An iron lock box is mounted in the center of the face, but the catch beneath the lid is lost.   The back is formed with a single large, horizontal panel, suspended in an undecorated oak frame.

One of the most remarkable features of this piece is the existence of a once-secret compartment, carved into the inside of one of the front posts and fitted with two tiny shelves. Two pairs of holes near its top and bottom indicate that it once had a wooden cover that was secured by dowels, hiding the compartment from view. The till that was once above it shielded it further. (Illustrations below.)

The unmatched iron hinges appear to be old replacements. The rear feet have been tipped by less than an inch.

Dimensions: Length: 40”; Depth: 17”; Height: 21”

Northern England or Wales, ca. 1650

SOLD

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Inventory #25764

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