English mid-18th century George II period architectural chest of drawers of small proportions, in mahogany.
Attributed to David Wright of Lancaster, circa 1740
This handsome architectural chest of drawers of pleasing petite proportions is designed in the antique Roman manner derived from Sebastiano Serlio’s 16th Century treatise on architecture, and made fashionable by Richard Boyle, 3rd Earl of Burlington and 4th Earl of Cork (d.1753), who served as George II’s Lord Lieutenant and Treasurer of Ireland. Much of the architectural furniture for Lord Burlington was designed by one of Britain’s most prominent architects of the first half of the 18th century, William Kent, who was the first to introduce ‘interior architecture’, which would unite architectural features of a house, its interiors decoration and furniture under a uniform style. This chest’s classical proportions and antique fluted quarter-column corner pilasters suggest that it might have been designed by an architect for a specific place in a specific interior.
The corners are carved with antique-fluted pilasters, most unusually, running from top to bottom of the chest.
Closely related, rounded and fluted columnar corners, are present on a partners’ pedestal desk, sold Christie’s London, 10 April 2003, lot 65, and on another example, in the V&A collection, inscribed ‘Fecit David Wright Lancaster 1751’. Similarly rounded corners, with re-entrant feet and tops, can be seen on an architectural bureau cabinet, quite possibly from the same workshop, illustrated in The Antique Collector, September/October 1946, front cover (with Norman Adams), subsequently sold Christie’s London, 11 February 1999, lot 270. Another closely related cabinet was sold Sotheby’s London, 9 February 1996, lot 48. A related dressing chest, with similarly fluted quarter-column corner pilasters, is in the Noel Terry collection at Fairfax House, York.