Until the mid-19th century, the standard chest had either four long, or three long and two short drawers. Rarely were there any exceptions to this rule. A chest with three drawers, or a series of small upper drawers, purporting to be Georgian, will probably have been converted from a chest-on-chest or tallboy. It is true that the 18th century commode often contain two long deep drawers, but this was a much grander and more decorative piece altogether, intended for drawing rooms, not bedrooms, and in any case was usually made to stand on legs. The standard chest of drawers continued to be made throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries (some Edwardian pine chests even had bracket feet), but variations were introduced during the mid-Victorian period, with some chests having seven or more drawers usually a deep hat drawer and smaller glove compartments. Chests with barley-sugar twist or split bobbin-turned supports date from the mid-19th century.
Learn about Tallboy
In Britain and Australia, a tallboy refers to the same item of furniture as a chest-on-chest. In America, however, it often refers to a chest of drawers, usually with a distinguishing hooded top, placed on top of a stand similar to a lowboy. The American variant is often known as a 'high boy'.
A Regency period mahogany tallboy, 'chest on chest', early 19th century. The upper chest has three full size drawers with ovular gilt metal drop handles. The base has four full size drawers, same matching handles, and splayed feet. The draw fronts, base si
A solid mottled kauri miniature tallboy of six full width drawers of uniform height, each with bevelled fascia and ebonised bun handles, raised on a simple plinth base and with conforming top with bevelled edge. 29 x 15 x 42 cm
A 2nd Empire fine mahogany tallboy chest, maker Pihouee 195 rue Saint-Antoine Paris, the chest with inset marble top and moulded edge four brass bound drawers below a pair of panel doors flanked by canted corners supported on a plinth
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