A joined oak chest that has travelled overseas and which was previously exhibited in the prestigious Marhamchurch Antiques ‘ Discovering Dennis’ exhibition - ‘The search for Thomas Dennis among the artisans of Exeter’.
The chest dates to the late 17th century, around 1670-1680, and shares many similarities with chests from the Thomas Dennis workshops. The oak is reddish brown, characteristic of the oak available around this period in Exeter when there was a shortage of the timber. The panels are carved with quadripartite flower head motifs within a lozenge, along with scrolled extensions. These carvings have a great similarities to the other two similar oak joined chests, with closer Dennis workshop connections, that are available on our website. The close similarities to the other Exeter chests of the period continue throughout with v-v-ogee mouldings and a moulded top rail. This chest is more likely from one of the wider network of Exeter workshops. The other two joined oak chests we have are more closely connected to the Dennis workshops and indeed were very likely created by the same hand.
The chest was found in South Africa, from the collection of a British officer who had moved from the south of England taking the chest with him. It returned in time for the 2009 exhibition.
The chest can be seen displayed on Page 43 and Page 44 of the Marhamchurch Antiques ‘Discovering Dennis Exhibition’ catalogue, and we were very glad to re-discover the chest from it’s latest home where its connections seemed to have been forgotten once more
There are losses and repairs to the lid and the back top rail and hinges have been sympathetically replaced at some point in its history. Part of the till remains.
Provenance: Private collection south of England then South Africa, Marhamchurch Antiques 2009, private collection.