A diminutive, mahogany Collector’s Cabinet on Chest.
The proportions of this interesting piece of furniture and its design are unusual and suggests that it was bespoke made to fit in with original owner’s needs. The Collector’s Cabinet top section can be lifted off the base by its gilt brass carrying handles and used as a piece of furniture in its own right. Your first thought is that the base section has been added later but the mahogany used to the sides of both parts match. The backboards also match. You might also expect the bracket feet to the top section to be a little bigger if it was conceived as an individual piece. Being smaller, they are easier to hide behind the moulding of the bottom section. If bigger, the moulding would also need to be taller and would stand out more. The two parts are original to each other.
That is not to say the piece does not have its quirks. The bottom section has two drawers, whereas three would have been more aesthetic. This suggests there was a particular need for deeper drawers. The inlaid stringing to the drawer edges is a different pattern from the top section to the bottom. The size of the axe drop handles were not given due consideration when the panelled doors were made and shrinkage has had an effect. To the top of the interior of the doors, 2 holes have been cut to allow for the central post of the axe drops. To the bottom, as much larger, shaped holes would need to be cut to take the whole axe drop, nothing has been done. Instead, the doors will only close when the axes are lifted to point upwards and so miss the deeper frame of the panel, sitting against the central board.
Having said all this, the piece of furniture has been well made with good dovetails to the oak lined drawers, well cut mouldings and precise inlaid stringing to the drawer edges.
This is an interesting piece of Georgian furniture which is likely unique, and of a size that would fit into most houses without too much thought. Circa 1780.