Maltese chest of drawers ANTIQUE gradenza OLIVE and ORANGE WOOD veneerMalta - Collection Only
A knowledgeable local collector has told me rare locks exist in Maltese chests of drawers which contain a spring /bell which sound when the lock is used. To alert homeowners when the chest is being opened while not in their attendance.
The same person has informed me the overhanging back can be to reduce humidity from walls affecting the chests.
Circa 1780 to 1820 . A 4 graduated drawer chest with thick hand cut veneer . Original stringing and inlay /inlaid panels . Non later-added ‘ off the shelf ‘ stars on top and sides . The stars are original showing hand cut edges and scale and features of early stars. Replaced feet [ c. 1980] in provincial manner. Replaced backboards and some drawer linings, done in the 20th century [ c. 1980 ]. Stained down drawer linings [ c.1980] to unify / darken and antique-ify repairs. Top drawer lock missing. Added early real-antique repousse effect [ French?] brass or similar escutcheons [ added c.1980]. No keys. Taped and stained drawer base plank gaps/cracks and residual odour of mothballs or insect repellent cedar shavings. Worm damage present .The patina is organic comprising of probably only natural insect shellac or sandarac pine varnish or both. The patina is consistent with non machined refinishing and recent staining or repair. The real-antique knobs are not original and were probably applied circa 1840. I suggest the article is accepted by its next custodian in its existing condition as further repair or alteration will not advance its value or aesthetic appeal. The existing changes and historical augmentations represent changing historical fashion and the marketplace and perhaps should be left as intrisic part of the item. The 3 remaining wrought [beaten ] iron locks are surface mounted [ not countersunk ]as is customary with these chests , and feature a tear /leaf shaped ornamentation in wrought iron which is common on the island.