A RARE WILLIAM AND MARY BRASS STUDDED LEATHER CHEST
ATTRIBUTED TO THE WORKSHOP OF RICHARD PIGG JUNIOR, C.1690-1700
decorated with tulips, flowerheads and scrolls, the hinged lid centred with a shield shape cartouche decorated with arabesques, revealing a vacant interior, the front with a crown handle backplate, with two paper lined drawers, with pierced cartouche shape escutcheons, the carcass with remains of the original marbled paper lining, with brass side carrying handles, on later castors
76.5cm high, 99.3cm wide, 57cm deep
Knightstone, Devon, see Country Life, 15th September 1950, where this piece is illustrated.
The Estate of the late Jane Sumner.
During the end of the 17th century, chests such as the present lot were indispensable. They were used for the storage and transport of valuable goods as they were lockable, primarily for clothes and bed linen, but others were fitted to accommodate books, medical stores and even musical instruments. Covered in high quality 'Russia leather' it made the chest both lightweight and water resistant, perfect for travelling. The decorative brass studs were used for identification purposes and to show the high status of the owner. See Olivia Fryman, 'Coffer-Makers to the Late Stuart Court, 1660-1714', Furniture History Society, 2016, pp.1-16, for a discussion of 17th century coffer makers and their products.
Richard Pigg Junior was 'trunk maker to the Great Wardrobe' from the reign of Charles II until his death in c.1706 at which time he was succeeded by William Johnson.
A very similar chest, with the same arrangement of drawers, made for William and Mary, can be found in the V&A Museum, no.497-1894. A related Royal chest with four drawers belonging to Queen Anne and attributed to the workshops of Richard Pigg Junior or William Johnson was with Thomas Coulborn & Sons Ltd. See also Sworders, 'The Principal Contents of North Mymms Park, 18th April 2018, lot 419, for a similar George I example with the initials 'C R', possibly for the 8th Baron Chandos.