The word borrowed from the French “chiffonier” is defined as a piece of furniture with drawers in which women put away their needlework. In France a chiffonier was a tall chest of drawers, made in large numbers from the second half of the 18th Century onwards. The earliest reference in England to the chiffonier occurs in the accounts of Chippendale for furniture supplied to Mersham Hatch. When an inventory was taken of the contents of Bedford House after the death of the 3rd Duke in 1771, “her grace’s dressing room” contained “a small chiffonier table with drawers and a brass rim”.
There is then an interval of about fifty years before the chiffonier is figured in English Trade catalogues of the early 19th Century. Chiffoniers illustrated in George Smiths household furniture 1808, as low shelved cupboards.