A fine George III mahogany serpentine chest of drawers in the manor of Henry Hill of Marlborough 1

George III Mahogany Serpentine Chest of Drawers

in the manner of Henry Hill of Marlborough

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A fine George III mahogany serpentine chest of drawers in the manor of Henry Hill of Marlborough

The curved conservatory at Ditchley Park designed by James Gibbs in 1772 formed the perfect backdrop to shoot this fabulous and original George III Mahogany chest. This chest displays great design and features a number of cabinetmaking techniques which all point to the celebrated maker, Henry Hill of Marlborough. 

 The ebonised, ogee moulded serpentine dovetail-housed top, sits above four graduating drawers, faced with well-chosen figured mahogany and cock-beading. Though not solely used by Henry Hill, the oak-lined drawers are ‘slipped’ to the inside with an ovolo moulding running from front to back. 

A detail which I have only seen on this chest and commodes attributed to Henry Hill is to the fronts where they meet the sides, a moulded edge of cross-grain mahogany runs from top right down to the tips of the feet, only ‘breaking’ at the base moulding to restart at the feet. 

The chest is in the most fantastic original condition, including locks, skeleton escutcheons, fire gilded handles, backplates, feet and patinated sleepy surface. 

Henry Hill (fl. 1740-1778) 
Henry Hill was a Georgian cabinetmaker working in Marlborough, Wiltshire from the 1740s to his death in 1778. During his career Hill was prolific in the art trade as a cabinetmaker, decorator, auctioneer, and estate agent. Hill benefited from his location in Marlborough as it was a stopping point on the Great West Road point between London and the fashionable town of Bath. Hill advertised his services to include delivery to London at more attractive rates than the London cabinetmakers. One of his major clients was Lord Deleval in London as well as the 9th Duke of Somerset at Maiden Bradley, Paul Methuen at Corsham Court, and Henry Hoare at Stourhead.

Hill’s obituary in the Ready Mercury on 20 July 1788 read ‘On Sunday night died, Mr. Henry Hill, of Marlborough, one of the most eminent cabinet-makers and upholsterers in the kingdom; who passed through life with the strictest integrity, on the most benevolent principles; and with every disposition, the most friendly to human nature, advanced with happiness of his fellow-creatures.’ 

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