Reindeer Antiques Ltd

Burr Woods at Reindeer Antiques

This month we have chosen to illustrate some fine pieces of English furniture veneered in burr woods.

The burr is sourced from either the root structure of a tree or from the knobbly areas created by pollarding. The burrs are created by roots or branches making small knots in the timber.

The Queen Anne burr yew cabinet is probably the finest piece of cabinet-making we currently possess. It is extremely rare to have such an even graining of burr throughout an entire piece, normally it is confined to small areas. Coupled with this the cabinet has a superb patina and unusually retains all its original handles. Click on this link to see a detail of the cabinet's interior.


A Rare Queen Anne Period Burr Yew Veneered Cabinet On Chest

A Rare Queen Anne Period Burr Yew Veneered Cabinet On Chest


Height: 67"

Depth: 19.5"

Width: 45.75"

Veneered in well figured burr yew wood, the cabinet with an unusual cross grain moulded cornice incorporating a secret drawer. The twin doors with kingwood cross bandings and box wood stringing. The fully fitted interior with a central cupboard door and surrounding drawers all retaining their original pear drop handles. The base with three long drawers and again inlaid with geometric box wood lines; standing on bold bracket feet. The cabinet of excellent quality and colour throughout.

The quality of this cabinet is reflected in the choice of its burr yew veneers. Normally such examples would have been veneered in walnut but on rare occasions burr yew or elm would be selected although such timbers were kept for only the finest examples. This combined with the elaborate use of geometric inlay points to this cabinet being a premier example commissioned by a wealthy and important patron.

The cabinet has developed a wonderfully mellow colour so sought after in examples of good yew wood furniture and indeed is an excellent example of late 17th Century cabinet furniture. A related example commissioned by Edward Dryden during the early 18th Century can be seen at Canons Ashby, Northamptonshire.

To read more about the importance of patina on English furniture please read this article on our blog.

Ref: 1635

Reindeer Antiques Ltd
A Superb William & Mary Burr Yew Veneered Chest

A Superb William & Mary Burr Yew Veneered Chest


Height: 36"

Depth: 22.5"

Width: 38"

The top quarter veneered and crossbanded in burr yew and strung in ebony; the two short and three long graduated drawers with pear drop handles and strung in ebony and raised on bun feet. The sides book match veneered in carefully selected burr yew and crossbanded with ebony stringing.

The quality of this chest is reflected in the choice of its burr yew veneers. The cabinet-maker has carefully selected cuts of burr yew for the top and sides that demonstrate the natural burr and figuring of the timber to its best advantage. This close attention to detail coupled with the chest's handsome proportions show it to be a fine example of the period.

For advice on what to look for when purchasing an antique chest of drawers please see our buyer's guide.

Ref: 1713y

Reindeer Antiques Ltd
A 19th Century Yew Games Table

A 19th Century Yew Games Table


Height: 29.5" (75cm)

Depth: 17" (43cm)

Width: 27" (68.5cm)

The rotating top veneered in well chosen burr yew opens to reveal an oval baize playing surface set within a burr yew surround; with a pull-out frieze drawer which has playing surfaces for backgammon and chess; raised on reeded and lotus leaf carved end supports united by a lotus leaf carved stretcher and standing on swept legs which are acanthus carved to the knee and terminate in lion paw feet.


The quality and attention to detail shown in the craftsmanship of this antique games table suggest that it was specially commissioned. The games table is veneered throughout in beautifully figured burr yew and unusually this has been used for the drawer lining as well. Yew is a timber native to the British Isles and its use may well have had patriotic overtones. The design of the end support of with an anthemion at the junction of the legs and the crispness of the acanthus carving suggest that the games table was made by one of the leading cabinet-makers of the early 19th Century such as Gillow of Lancaster and London.

Ref: 2007

Reindeer Antiques Ltd
A George II Walnut Tea Caddy

A George II Walnut Tea Caddy


Height: 6.5" (16.5cm)

Depth: 6" (15.25cm)

Width: 10.25" (26cm)

A fine George II burr walnut veneered tea caddy; the top retaining its original rococo swan neck handle is chequer strung and crossbanded as are the sides. With a secret spoon drawer and raised on bracket feet.

Ref: PA2

Reindeer Antiques Ltd
81 Kensington Church Street, London, W8 4BG, telephone: +44 (0)207 937 3754, Fax: +44(0)207 937 7199