A side table containing several drawers, usually with cabriole legs and a scalloped frieze or apron. An 18th century term, it is generally applied to American tables of this type. The opposite, one might say, to a 'tallboy'. Also used to describe a small wardrobe of 20th century origin.
Learn about Chest of Drawers
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.
An early George III oak lowboy, the top with elm crossbanding, the moulded edge with notched corners, three drawers in the frieze with cockbeaded edges, brass handles, raised on cabriole legs. 91 cm x 58 cm x 69 cm
A George II walnut lowboy, circa 1740, with a projecting cornice top above an arrangement of two short and three long drawers, the base set with three further drawers, raised on bracket feet 112 cm wide, 63 cm deep, 126 cm high
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