Satnwood And Mahogany Secretary Bookcase
In the possession of Alan Mackinnon, Esq. Upper carcase.—Wings: ioj ins. wide x 12J ins. deep x 3 ft. 4J ins. high.
Centre: 2 ft. 9 ins. wide x 14J ins. deep x 3 ft. 10 ins. high. Lower carcase.—Wings : 10J ins. wide x 20 ins. deep.
Centre: 2 ft. 10J ins. wide x 21J ins. deep x 3 ft. 6} ins. high, nafp ahniit 1 7K5-90.
THE SECRETARY BOOKCASE (Fig. 120) shown open.
chest is not known, it was evidently the work of an important maker, possibly that of Chippendale himself.
- 116 is a cabinet, quite simple in detail excepting for the dentilled cornice and fluted and pateraed frieze, which shows to what extent the use of fine curl mahogany had progressed between 1770 and 1780. The door framings are veneered with figured wood, feathered from the centre of each style and rail, large curls being used for the panels, which are surrounded with bolection mouldings, hollow cornered in the general fashion of this period. With the exception of the detail of the frieze, there is no suggestion of even the influence of Adam in this piece. In the next example, Fig. 117, there is an indication of the Hepplewhite school on the frieze, where the flutes are divided by carved representations of the Prince of Wales' feathers, a «/¿¡///"especially characteristic of " A. Hepplewhite and Co." Employed as a device in the back splats of chairs, this detail is frequently claimed as being their especial creation. In this wardrobe the " swept " front is a detail which does not appear to have been ever applied by Robert Adam, the play of light afforded by a large shaped and polished surface evidently jarring with his severely classical notions.
- 118 and 119 are the two views of a very interesting secretary cabinet, purely Hepplewhite in character, showing the later phase of the Adam influence, where the flutes and patera are inlaid instead of carved. This cabinet is veneered with mahogany, originally pale, and now bleached by the action of time and sunlight to nearly the colour of satinwood. The veneer on the framing of the doors is feathered from the centre, and the escutcheons are cut from satinwood, and inlaid. The same wood is used for the dentils, flutes, and paterre. The astragal mouldings of the diamond lattice are delicate, with the fillets very small, and intersect with the framing ovolo right into the corners, the mitring of the veener prolonging the line to the outside of the door. The glass is nearly all original. The secretary is fitted with four pigeon-holes, with cut-out bracket or "valance" pieces, a central door veneered with a mahogany oval with a satinwood surround and an eight-pointed star in the centre, and eleven drawers of mahogany edged with a herring-boned line and very pretty ring handles. The fall is lined, supported on quadrants, and secured with the usual spring catches on the corners. The legs are inlaid with oval fans, and have the characteristic Hepplewhite inside taper before referred to. Small fretted brackets connect the legs to the under rail, which latter has the same inlay of flutes and oval fans with the central marqueterie shell as in the frieze. The entire piece is very refined and unassuming, a charming example of the cabinet-work of the period from 1775 to 1785.
A more important example is shown in the next two illustrations, Figs. 120 and 121. This is a secretary bookcase of somewhat later date than the preceding, very typical of the period just prior to the arrival of Thomas Sheraton in London. The carcase-work is of mahogany throughout, veneered 011 the outside faces with satinwood banded with rosewood. A peculiarity of the construction is that the centre and wings are finished on the sides as well as the fronts, so that the central part is complete when the wings are removed. On either side of the secretaire is one deep drawer, fronted to simulate two, and each fitted as a three-bottle cellarette with a central drainage hole. The secretaire pulls forward, with a fall-down front lined with leather, and supported on quadrants as in the previous example. Inside are four pigeon-holes, two long and eight smaller drawers. Of these latter, the one on the bottom right-hand side is fitted for ink-bottles and pens, the one on the top left hand divided with eight partitions for the orderly arrangement of visiting cards. These divisions are of important size as compared with that of the present-day gentleman's card, technically known as a " third." The upper doors are veneered with satinwood, with a narrow crossbanding of rosewood and a tracery of mahogany. Nearly every section has its original glass intact. The inside of each
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