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When studying a chest of drawers it is important to be ordered in your thought processes.One of the first questions to ask yourself is what wood is the chest made from?

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If the handles are original it will give a very good indication of the age of the chest.

A pear drop handle will suggest the chest will be William and Mary or Queen Anne period whereas a swan neck handle would be found on pieces that post date 1750.

Drawer mouldings will also give an indication of the age of the chest.

In the 17th Century mouldings were applied to the carcass and as the 18th Century progressed these details transferred to the edges of the drawers.

The next thing to consider is whether the chest's handles are original.

Handles were often changed to make a piece of furniture look more fashionable and some chests will have had two or three different types of handle over the years.The place to check is the back of the drawer front, if you see holes that don' t appear to have any function then the handles have been replaced.Original handles will often leave a bruise mark on the drawer front from hitting against the wood over hundreds of years or even leave a shade mark by blocking out the sun which can be seen in this photograph.In the George II period drawers often have ovolo mouldings (a quarter round edge) and by 1760 the drawers would typically have a cock bead moulding.Feet where also often changed to make a chest more fashionable.Bun feet were highly fashionable at the beginning of the 18th Century but by the 1740s a bracket foot was more typical.

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