A George III Satinwood & Inlaid Secretaire Bookcase
The fretted swans neck pediment over a dentil and lambrequin-molded cornice and curvilinear glazed doors opening to adjustable shelves; the lower section fitted with a secretaire drawer opening to a leather-lined writing surface and arrangements of drawers and pigeon holes, above three crossbanded graduated drawers on splayed feet.
In the late eighteenth century, the secretary superseded the traditional bureau bookcase as the most desirable form of writing furniture with its neat, straight lines more attuned to the prevailing neoclassical style. Instead of a slanted fall front that was supported on lopers, described George Hepplewhite in the posthumously published The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterers Guide of 1788, “the accommodations for writing are produced by the face of the upper drawer falling down by means of a spring and quadrant, which produces the usefulness as the flap to a desk.”
Mahogany remained a staple for dining room and library furniture, but it was the golden satinwood that was brought into the drawing room. That this secretaire is of satinwood indicates that it was positioned in one of its owners rooms of prestige. The earliest and by most accounts most beautiful variety was imported from the West Indies (and more specifically, Peurto Rico). Its figure is similar to plum-pudding mahogany, with rippled waves. Satinwood from Ceylon was also imported, but generally considered inferior as most logs had a very plain figure. The expense and hardness of satinwood made it a poor candidate for carving, and it was used mainly as a veneer. Offered by Hyde Park Antiques, Ltd.
- Depth: 22 Width: 42 Height: 95
- Lead Time
- Varies (Limited Edition)
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