Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach
Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach
Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach
Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach
Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach

Rare Welsh Oak Coffer Bach

c. 1750 Wales

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons

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A rare example made from oak, the exterior with moulded edge to the lid and retaining its original wooden hinges. The front with raised moulded fielded panels, with one long drawer below. With a shaped apron and open fretted frieze, on short cabriole legs with pointed toes. The brass escutcheon plate and the brass drawer handle are original.

A ‘Coffer (or Coffor) Bach’ is a Welsh term meaning a small chest or trunk, used to describe a small coffer with a lift-up top revealing open storage space, with a single drawer – although occasionally with two drawers – below. Made only in Wales, a ‘Coffer Bach’ is traditionally associated with marriages, a dowry or love chest which was held in high esteem and handed down through the female line. Often given to the bride at her wedding, the ‘Coffer Bach’ would have been used to store her most personal and prized possessions, such as sewing implements, etc. Richard Bebb explains that: ‘The elaborate paneling and use of solid oak throughout was an expensive statement and the pieces were made to be admired, continuing to form – with the clothing and bedding they contained – a part of the woman’s dowry. Besides their storage function, they fulfilled aesthetic and social purposes and often became heirlooms, and this favoured their traditional appearance.’ (Richard Webb, ‘Welsh Furniture 1250-1950: A Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design: Volume Two 1700-1950’ (Saer Books, 2007), p.74).
A similar chest, dated c.1720, which also has three fielded panels, shaped under-framing and cabriole legs is illustrated in Ralph Edwards’ ‘The Dictionary of English Furniture: Volume Two’ (Antique Collectors’ Club, 1983), p.26, figure 50. It is made from elm rather than oak, but Edwards explains that, despite this, it resembles the oak varieties and that its fielded panels, shaped under-framing and short cabriole legs show the influence of contemporary fashion. He continues to explain that: ‘[t]o this type, with drawers fitted in the sand, the term “mule chest” is generally applied.’ (Ralph Edwards, ‘The Dictionary of English Furniture: Volume Two’, Antique Collectors’ Club, 1983, p.24).

In ‘Welsh Furniture 1250-1950: A Cultural History of Craftsmanship and Design: Volume Two 1700-1950’ (Saer Books, 2007), Richard Webb ‘ illustrates similarly designed coffer bachs – see figures 771 – 776, pp.74-75.
Dimensions
Height 53.50 cm (21.06 inches)
Width 61.00 cm (24.02 inches)
Depth 31.75 cm (12.50 inches)
Stock Code
6349
Medium
Oak.
Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Vesey Manor
64 Birmingham Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1QP
England

+44 (0)121-354 3974
+44 (0)7941 252299
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