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Chiffonier

CHIFFONIER, or Cheffonier, a piece of furniture differentiated from the sideboard by its smaller size and by the enclosure of the whole of the front by doors. Its name (which comes from the French for a rag-gatherer) suggests that it was originally intended as a receptacle for odds and ends which had no place elsewhere, but it now usually serves the purpose of a sideboard. It is a remote and illegitimate descendant of the cabinet; it has rarely been elegant and never beautiful. It was one of the many curious developments of the mixed taste, at once cumbrous and bizarre, which prevailed in furniture during the Empire period in England. The earliest cheffoniers date from that time; they are usually of rosewood - the favourite timber of that moment; their "furniture" (the technical name for knobs, handles and escutcheons) was most commonly of brass, and there was very often a raised shelf with a pierced brass gallery at the back. The doors were well panelled and often edged with brass-beading, while the feet were pads or claws, or, in the choicer examples, sphinxes in gilded bronze. Cheffoniers are still made in England in cheap forms and in great number.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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