Tasmanian Colonial period Huon pine Chest of Drawers c1845

Tasmanian Colonial period Huon pine Chest of Drawers c1845

A Huon pine chest of drawers c1845.

From the workshops of Irish born cabinet maker, William Hamilton (c.1796-1885), his three storied establishment in Elizabeth St Hobart in the 1830s and 40s was the by word for perfection in cabinet making. Working principally in the endemic timbers of the island, Hamilton was to set the vernacular Irish tunes of his past with the superb local timbers of the island, prepped to the taste of the newly rich and emancipated. His was furniture that captured the zeitgeist of the anti-transportationists.

Located next to the old Guard House of Government House, at No.2 Elizabeth St Hobart, the 1837 purpose built warehouse, workshop and warerooms sported plate glass windows and was designed by Edinburgh born convict architect James Thomson, from a design in The Builder’s Portfolio of Street Architecture, published in London in 1831. In 1850 Hamilton was to cross the road to old Government House Ballroom, where his wares were exhibited prior to being sent to the Great Exhibition of All Nations in London in 1851.

Image 2. Plate 20 – Early Colonial Furniture in News South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land by Craig, Fahy , Robertson1971.

The chest of drawer sports acanthus leaf topped Tuscan columns,  relating to furniture in the collection of the late Lady Peek of Canberra, great great grand daughter of William Hamilton. It is of the most superb quality of manufacture, originality and considered use of the timbers – lined in Huon pine, backed with Australian cedar, with gilded double blade locks.  Interestingly, the top right hand glove drawer is inscribed to both sides with all the owners since new, to the present day.
”Christine Wild 1982 – Grace Evans 1974 – Edna Simons Nov 1951 – Vera Thurston 1921, Previously belonged to Miss Adams, Halstead Cottage Fingal, Tasmania.”

[Eliza Adams, of Halstead Cottage Avoca, arrived Hobart 1846 died 1896, aged 85. The Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery holds 37 letters of her letters.]

[For a 288 page discussion of the lives of the Adams family of Tasmania, see – Amongst Friends: Middle Class Tasmanians who moved to New Zealand, 1855 -1875 UTAS PhD Thesis by Dr Jean (Jai) Paterson.]

134cm high x 122cm wide x 58cm.deep

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