of the 18th Century



The modern world believes size and speed to be the measure of value. 

AT&T ads even emphatically state : "Bigger is better!" and "Faster is better!"

In the language of better 18th century chests of drawers,

"bigger" and "faster" could not be further from the objectives.



                                                                                                                   Photo by youtube/AT&T



"Small-scale chests" of the 18th century, often termed "diminutive chests",

refers to chests of drawers measuring about 36" in width, or - even better - smaller.

These small-scale chests are more desirable and retain more value than the larger standard size chests usually encountered. 

Some of the smaller chests - particularly a " correct" walnut bachelor's chest whose top is hinged to fold forward -

can range well into 6 figures in dollars - and in pounds.


In light of our contemporary penchant to favor size and speed, I am often asked why this seemingly reversed valuation. 

Most small pieces of furniture possess and obvious charm and versatility or use. 

But more importantly, these smaller case goods were made as furniture for display -

employing finer timbers and construction details generally lacking in larger utilitarian chests made for bedroom storage.

To quote MacQuoid & Edwards (Dictionary of British Furniture) :

"Ordinary bedroom chests of drawers at this time (mid-18th century) exhibit no details that call for notice".

Thus these small-scale chests usually represent quality - the single most important factor to a collector.

 And of course, quality includes wonderful proportion, design and execution thereof, fine surface, color,

"hand" and patination to the finish, as well as their overall condition


Contrarily, many of the 18th century ordinary larger storage pieces are those we speak of today as

"brown furniture" and / or "container goods". 

The brown category does not include the gracious commode or dressing chest,

but the more utilitarian chests -- unless altered. 

Brown furniture examples might well be 18th century, of walnut, oak, elmwood or mahogany, and superficially look pretty good. 

A closer inspection usually reveals a bit different story of life and use. 

You may encounter a lesser quality of timber, various unacceptable repairs and inappropriate finishes -

even alterations of form and upgrades of veneer intended to make bedroom storage into living room specimens. 

These chests might be just the needed size and shape. 

However the same quality is not present -  nor was it intended.


A standard valuation rule : a secondary piece of any age will remain a secondary piece later. 

A well formed and finished piece, approached as art, will remain a work of art throughout time,

regardless of current "trends".



Currently in stock are the following two delightful mid-18th century Georgian diminutive chests of drawers.

Click the images or titles for detailed descriptions :




Early George III Diminutive Mahogany Chest of Drawers, c1760 ,

A small chest with great gusto, the highly figured timbers

 with original surfaces, original rocaille gilt brasses and key

31.5" High x 31.5" Wide x 18.25" Deep





Early George III Diminutive Mahogany Chest of Drawers with Brushing Slide, c1765 ,

Of exceptional quality, having well figured rich close-grained timbers,

the canted corners with Gothic blind fretwork,

early surfaces, original gilt brass keyhole escutcheons and sympathetically replaced gilt brass pulls

34.25" High x 34" Wide x 18.5" Deep




 For the entire Furniture Page, click :  https://www.mfordcreech.com/furniture.html


Please email or call if you have any questions about this email -

 or any stock.


Millicent Ford Creech


901-761-1163 (gallery) / 901-827-4668 (cell)



Hours : Wed.-Sat. 11-6, or by appointment


mfcreech@bellsouth.net  or  mfordcreech@gmail.com



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18th Century British Diminutive Chests of Drawers - Bigger is not necessarily Better!