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William & Mary Period Oysterwood Chest

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William & Mary Period Oysterwood Chest

- Item No.

William and Mary-period furnishings are among the most rare and desirable

Key Features

  • This William & Mary-period oysterwood chest is a stunning example of 17th-century furniture making
  • This chest is beautifully veneered in desirable walnut, cut in cross-sections to resemble oysters
  • Set upon bun feet, this chest would have been made for only the most affluent client
  • Circa 1700
  • 37 ¼" wide x 21 ¾" deep x 32 ¾" high

Item Details

  • Width:
    37 1/4 Inches
  • Height:
    32 3/4 Inches
  • Depth:
    21 3/4 Inches
  • Period:
    William and Mary / Queen Ann
  • Origin:
    England/Ireland
A magnificent and extremely rare William and Mary-period walnut oyster-veneered chest. Light dances across the piece thanks to the perfectly matched pieces of walnut wood, and the veneers have aged to exhibit a rich and warm patina. Elevated upon bun feet, the chest's exceptional design also incorporates fine bronze pulls. After more than 300 years, the chest remains in remarkably fine condition. The practice of "oyster" veneering was a painstaking process used on only the finest pieces meant for the wealthiest clientele. Comparatively few period examples of this quality and condition can be found today, making this an extraordinary find.

Circa 1700

37 1/4" wide x 21 3/4" deep x 32 3/4" high

Though the reign of William and Mary lasted only a few short years, they ushered in a distinctive style of furniture and furniture making that still bears their name. The practice of veneering furniture with thin sheets of decorative woods became popular in the mid-17th century during this period of transition. Chests of drawers replaced the older, more cumbersome deep chests during this period and cabinetmakers continually sought to improve the appearance of these innovative and popular pieces. Walnut veneering, with its beautiful figuring and patina, became the favored choice among craftsmen. Oyster veneering, a technique indicative of the William and Mary period, was achieved by transversely cutting or slicing the smaller branches of certain trees such as walnut or olive. These small, rounded veneers, with their circular striations, resembled the inside of an oyster, and when pieced together, produced a most dramatic and impressive decorative effect. 

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