Luxury Design, Past & Present
George III fiddleback mahogany small chest of drawers, the rectangular top with well figured veneer and molded edge over two short drawers and three long drawers, each with boxwood stringing and the original ring-pull hardware; the splayed legs joined by a shaped apron with string inlay.
Sporting many desirable features, this diminutive chest of drawers was undoubtedly made to order. First, is its small size. Dimensionally, it's a bachelor's chest, as seen in the early 18th century walnut examples, and if it had the requisite fold-over writing surface, that's what we'd call it. At only 24½" wide and 15" deep, it's rare to find a five drawer chest this small.
The top is veneered in a sheet of the finest cross-grain mahogany. The dark lines you see are a natural result of the aging process.
The sides are well figured solid mahogany, cut from the same board- an expensive use of materials, especially when lesser cuts would suffice.
Its greatest feature, however, is the veneer to the facade. Fiddleback figuring (also called 'curly' or 'tiger') is common in maple, sycamore and even walnut, but rare in mahogany. The photos scarcely convey the subtlety of the figuring, but the two closeups reveal a few of the almost three dimensional undulations of the grain.