Fine & Rare Geo I Pollard Oak and Yew wood banded Mirror door Bureau Bookcase, a most unusual piece, probably of West Country or Welsh Borders origin, most likely a special commission by a land owner, using his own estate timber. It combines provincial construction with sophisticated detail, viz. the yew tree mouldings, feather- and cross-bandings and bevelled mirror plates.
Replacement brass and bun feet. Some restoration to mouldings. Circa 1720. More photos available on request.
Provenance, by descent in the family of:
Lt Col Basil Cookson Hastings Whicher (1899-1976), late of the Somerset Light Infantry, came from a distinguished line of military and medical personalities on both sides of his family. His grandfather Dr James Whicher R.N. (1825-1878) was C.M.O. of both Yarmouth and Malta R.N. Hospitals, whilst his grandmother Georgina (1843-1927) was descended both from the 12th Earl of Huntingdon, Hans Francis Hastings (1779-1828) and the Dent family of 18th & 19th Century admirals. However, the singular nature of this bureau cabinet would indicate a provenance nearer to his Somerset birthplace. It combines a provincial simplicity of design – effectively a shelved cabinet above a working interior of drawers – with a complex pattern of yew tree feather bandings surrounding pollard oak veneers. The yew wood carved moulding to the mirror panels indicates a familiarity with the most sophisticated London designs of the first quarter of the 18th Century. It can be surmised that this was a commissioned piece, possibly from estate grown and felled timber, made by a local cabinet maker for a local land owner.
Colonel Whicher was born in Midsomer Norton, was commissioned in 1918 and spent many years of Army service in the Sudan and finally in B.A.O.R, Germany, retiring firstly to Kingston St Mary, Taunton and later to Hampshire. It is quite possible that he either purchased this desk in Somerset, or perhaps his father, Dr Alexander Whicher of Midsomer Norton acquired or was gifted it in the early 20th Century. The desk bears a W. & A. CHAPMAN Ltd Taunton storage label for Lt Col Whicher.