17th century joined oak chest, Exeter chest with Thomas Dennis connections
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A good example of a west country joined oak chest from Ottery St. Mary, Exeter, Devon highly likely to have been constructed in one of the workshops connected to Thomas Dennis in which he was an apprentice. Thomas Dennis, alongisde William Searle, emigrated to New England, America in 1663 and went on to become one of the foremost furniture makers of the period.
The significant features of the chest undoubtedly point to its origins in the Exeter workshops. In fact whilst referred to as the Exeter workshop more recent research supports the location of the workshop as Ottery St Mary, outside Exeter, Devon. In fact this is highly liker to have been by the same maker as the other Exeter chest we have one sale.
The chest is a triple panelled chest with a two board life of good colour. The carving is typical of Devon to the top rail and foliage emerging from the lozenges on the left and right front panel. A running leaf and stem is carved to the bottom rail and muntins.
The characteristic Dennis workshop feature is present with the V-V ogee moulding. The till is no longer present.
Inside the rails and stiles appear to have been intended for the outside of the chest but, perhaps not happy with his work, and with oak in such short supply at the time in the Exeter area, these have been used faced the inside of the chest.
The rear stile has been repaired following an historic break, with associated repair to the side moulding in that area. The original hinges, whilst still visible from the top, have early 19th century hinges replacements. Old crack to right hand end panel.