A Victorian burr walnut double door eight drawer jewellery…
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A Victorian burr walnut double door eight drawer jewellery cabinet, 19th century, the fine burr walnut veneer travelling jewellery cabinet, rectangular top with rounded edges, brass campaign side handles, the double doors opening to a tight arrangement of eight drawers with matching brass handles, raised on a plinth base. Height 57 cm, width 61 cm, depth 35 cm

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  • Veneers - Veneers are thin sheets of well-figured timber that are glued under pressure to the surface of a cheaper timber for decorative effect, and then used in the making of carcase furniture.

    Early veneers were saw-cut so were relatively thick, (up to 2 mm) but is was realised that saw cutting was wasteful, as timber to the equivilent of the thickness of the saw was lot on each cut.

    A more efficient method was devised to slice the timber, either horizontally with a knife, or in a rotary lathe.

    Flame veneer, commonly found in mahogany or cedar furniture, is cut from the junction of the branches and main trunk. So-called fiddleback veneers, where the grain is crossed by a series of pronounced darker lines, is usually cut from the outer sections of the tree trunk.

    During the 17th and 18th centuries, and in much of the walnut marquetry furniture made during the latter part of the 19th century, the veneer was laid in quarters, each of the same grain, so that one half of the surface was the mirror image of the other.

    The use of veneer allows many other decorative effects to be employed, including stringing, feather banding, cross banding, and inlaid decorative panels in the piece. The carcase over which veneer is laid is usually of cheaper timber such as pine, oak or, sometimes in Australia during the first half of the 19th century, red cedar.

    The important thing to remember about veneers is that prior to about 1850 they were cut by hand, and were consequently quite thick - ranging up to about 2mm deep.

    From the mid-19th century veneers were cut by machines and were almost wafer-thin. This is a critical point when trying to judge the approximate age of veneered furniture.
  • Plinth - The square or rectangular base of a piece of cabinet furniture, often ornamented with moulding. The plinth may be separate, as in some wardrobes or presses, and act as the support for the carcase. In a false plinth, the moulded boards may be attached directly to the piece. Furniture with a plinth base usually does not have separate feet. The term derives from architecture where it denotes the base of a column or statue.
  • Victorian Period - The Victorian period of furniture and decorative arts design covers the reign of Queen Victoria from 1837 to 1901. There was not one dominant style of furniture in the Victorian period. Designers used and modified many historical styles such as Gothic, Tudor, Elizabethan, English Rococo, Neoclassical and others, although use of some styles, such as English Rococo and Gothic tended to dominate the furniture manufacture of the period.

    The Victorian period was preceded by the Regency and William IV periods, and followed by the Edwardian period, named for Edward VII (1841 ? 1910) who was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India for the brief period from 1901 until his death in 1910.
  • Burr - Burr (or in the USA, burl) is the timber from the knotted roots or deformed branch of the tree, which when cut, displays the small circular knots in various gradations of colour. It is always cut into a decorative veneer, most commonly seen as burr walnut on 19th century furniture.
  • Campaign Furniture - Most of the campaign furniture on the market is associated with the time of the British Empire in the 18th and 19th centuries when there was a high demand from military officers, administrators and colonists.

    Campaign furniture is demountable, through clever use of wooden screws and sometimes metal hinges, so that it can disassembled and then packed into lots of manageable size for ease of movement by ship or animal between postings or camps.

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