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- An important, walnut- veneered chest of drawers inlaid with the inscription '16 God Give Iames Stiles Grace 95'
An important, walnut- veneered chest of drawers inlaid with the inscription '16 God Give Iames Stiles Grace 95'
The quarter-veneered straight-grain top, with a large oval and two small circles in herringbone inlay. Faced with a border inlaid with the inscription '16 God give Iames Stiles grace 95' along the front and the back. The inscription in walnut on a fruitwood veneer at the back, and in fruitwood on a walnut veneer at the front. This border edged with herringbone inlay on both sides.
The frieze with two short drawers above three long drawers veneered in burr-walnut, and faced with herringbone inlay. The frame faced with a single bead moulding. The brasses, escutcheons (one re-pinned) and locks original. The drawers lined in oak, with repairs to shrinkage and re-run. The sides veneered in straight-grain walnut, with a deep crossbanded border along the sides. The bottom faced with a moulded edge. The bun feet replaced. The top repolished, minor repairs to veneers. Excellent colour and patina. English, last quarter of the 17th century. 70501211.
The Arthur Lock Radford F.S.A. Collection; a noted collector antiquary. The Collection was inherited by his son Courtney Arthur Raleigh Radford who died in December 1998 at the age of 98. Arthur Lock Radford collected 17th, 18th & 19th Century English, German and Italian furniture as well as porcelain, pottery, paintings, needlework and other works of art. His collection of stained glass was purchased by the V&A Museum. Just before the First World War his family moved from Hillingdon, Middlesex to Bovey House, Beer. The collection was the subject of articles in Country Life on 16th November 1912 and the 16th September 1916, although in the intervening years there had been a dispersal of part of the collection at Bovey House in 1914 when the family moved to Bradninch Manor. A L Radford's son Courtney was born at Hillingdon in November 1900. He was also a distinguished antiquarian, becoming a F.S.A. in 1928 and was Director of the British School of Rome from 1936-1939. He was appointed OBE in 1947. In later years he lived at Uffculme.
The cabinet maker has used fine, dense, burr-veneers on the front of this piece, which have matured into an exceptional surface where the depth and tone of colour and patina gradually deepen down the front of the chest. It is unusual for a chest from this period to retain its original brasses, and there are dark tones and softness around the drops. On the top, the cabinet maker has used fine veneers with soft ripple markings which create movement and softness. It is extremely rare to find pieces of furniture bearing personal inscriptions, and a lovely feature to have the repeat with the timbers reversed on the back so that it can be more clearly seen. The inscription gives a strong sense of the man it was made for. A James Styles matriculated on 2nd April, 1696 at Oriel College, Oxford. Until 1752 the year changed on 25th March so that a piece of furniture acquired two weeks before James Styles went up to Oxford would have been purchased in 1695. The Alumni Oxonienses (1500-1715) contains an entry for James Styles who is described as son of George Styles of Norton, Gloucestershire, cleric. It is highly probable that the father, a clergyman, purchased this piece for his son, who was also to become a clergyman, when he went up to Oxford in the first week of 1696. The father was probably the George, son of William Style (s) who matriculated at Magdalen Hall Oxford in 15th July 1664, BA 1668 and was Vicar of Elmstone Hardwick, Gloucestershire in 1695. His successor was appointed in 1733. The Alumni Oxonienses is a bit hesitant about the subsequent career of James Styles after he obtained his BA in 1699. He is described as perhaps Vicar of Taynton Oxfordshire 1712-50, Vicar of Dallington 1719-21, Vicar of Shilton, Oxfordshire 1721-50 and of Great Barrington, Gloucestershire 1742-50.
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