Cheney family Chippendale chest to make $150,000 at Bonhams

A majestic Chippendale chest-on-chest that was once owned by the well-known Cheney family from Connecticut is to provide the highlight at Bonhams' Fine American & European Furniture, Silver and Decorative Arts auction.

The sale will be held on January 24 in New York, with the Cheney family piece starring on the catalogue's cover page. It is expected to sell in the region of $100,000-150,000.

Chippendale Cheney Family Aaron Chapin
The delicate seahorse finial has managed to survive for more than 200 years

The Cheney family was prominent in Manchester, Connecticut during the 19th century. They established a large silk mill, later forming a huge industrial centre that became known as Cheneyville.

The imposing chest-on-chest has been attributed to the shop of Aaron Chapin of Connecticut and was likely made around 1785-1795. It has been described by Bonhams as "a masterpiece of Hartford County cabinetmaking".

Made from cherrywood, the piece is particularly valued as it has survived with its fragile seahorse finial intact. It is almost identical to another example also attributed to Aaron Chapin that is illustrated in Connecticut Valley Furniture: Eliphalet Chapin and his contempories.

Holding the auction's second highest estimate are a pair of mid-18th century Louis VI gilt bronze mounted tulipwood and amaranth marquetry encoignures, which have been valued at $40,000-60,000.

With outstanding craftsmanship, the pair were made in 1755 by Pierre Bernard, cabinetmaker to the French king and royal court. Another lot that can be expected to see strong bids due to excellent provenance, the encoignures were owned by Wallis Simpson at her residence with the Duke of Windsor, then shipping magnate Stavros Niarchos and later, Roman Abramovich.

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