Many examples of these chests and cupboards, exhibiting the same details, could be illustrated here, did not space-considerations preclude more than a representative selection. Fig. 117 has the inner-frame pattern of panelling with mitred mouldings, the rectangular central panels projected, with heavy chamfers of snakewood. Fig. 118, from Forde Abbey, has the split-balusters, bobbin-turned, above, and square-section moulded pilasters below. The corners of the panels have the mouldings mitred in the familiar key-cornered pattern as in Fig. 116. The ovals in the door panels, divided into quarters by chamfered keystones, are in the somewhat feeble manner of 1670,1 and the knobs, - which are not original, but probably replaced others of similar form, - are used with considerable effect. This press opens with two doors only, which are hinged on the ends. The central pilaster is carried on the right-hand door, a device which indicates the last thirty years of the seventeenth century, and one borrowed from Dutch and German sources at this date.
The next example, Fig. 119, is difficult to localise, although it is of post-Restoration date. The four doors are decorated to give a perspective appearance to the panels, which are inlaid with bone and mother-o'-pearl. The Dutch origin of these pieces has been often suspected, and this example gives colour to the suggestion, especially in such details as the projection of the central panels, and the illusory recessing of these on either side. Constructional details, however, show that this press is of English make and origin.
Fig. 120 is the Western-Midland version of this style of elaborately mitred mouldings. A comparison of this with the East Anglian chest, Fig. 121, will show the greater refinement of the latter. The small cupboard above has the key-corners, as in Fig. 118, with panels of bone inlaid in a ground of ebony. The type of split-baluster, strapped to its ground, which is often found in furniture and woodwork of the early seventeenth century, and which persists as an effective and inexpensive form of decoration until about 1680, will be noticed here.
Fig. 122 has the same type of inlay and split-baluster, with a fretted and bossed capping, and appears to be of Shropshire origin. The feet and the lock-plate are additions from the next century. Fig. 123 is the highest development of this type as exhibited in the work of Norfolk or Suffolk, of the years between 1685 and 1690.
1 The device itself is earlier, and can be noticed in the overmantels from Lime Street, illustrated in Figs. 332 to 334 in Vol. I.
It is rare to find low chests, with lifting lids, and without drawers, at this date, and in this respect the type is early, but in design, finish, and refined elaboration, it may be regarded as the last and best phase of this intricately moulded and inlaid style.
Fig. 124 closes this series of chests and cupboards and carries us to the last years of the seventeenth century. Here we have the same elaboration of moulding, in a chest fitted with three drawers, mounted on a stand with turned legs and feet, flat-stretchered in the fashion of 1690-1700. We reach, with this example, the walnut period, and although oak was still used until the close of the century, veneering with walnut and saw-cut marqueterie (as distinct from either the older inlay or parqueterie), was becoming general, with the result that examples of oak, plain walnut, and marqueterie, of apparently totally different stages in the evolution of English furniture, are met with, and from the same localities, which coincide in point of date, in spite of superficial indications to the contrary. This chest of drawers on its stand has an amount of quiet but effective embellishment. The escutcheons are crested with a royal crown flanked by supporters, and are of solid silver. In the centre of the bottom drawer of the upper carcase is the device of a hand grasping an ear of wheat, and a spray of oak leaves with acorns. Initials are carved in four places, the upper two " J.T." and " O.T." being probably original to the piece, while the others, "J.C.E.T." and "S.V.E.T." are later. The middle drawer, with the earlier initials, however, has somewhat the appearance of being an interpolation, differing even in the style of the coupled split-turned balusters on either side. The escutcheon-pattern is the same, but all the metal work is of early eighteenth-century design, and is probably an addition. This chest and its stand may be taken as the last phase of the oak furniture of the seventeenth century, and thus concludes this series, leaving the consideration of the next development, the walnut furniture of William III and Anne, to be deferred to a later book, where it is intended to carry this history of English furniture and woodwork to its logical conclusion, the close of the eighteenth century.