and with one fixed in each door of the table, any lady would be furnished with a triple mirror such as we know the use of nowadays, only far superior on account of the adjustability of the glasses. He seems to have revelled in designing dressing-table fitments. One apparently ordinary chest of drawers in my possession (Plate 49) is an excellent example of this. The top drawer, on first being opened, discloses a baize-covered writing-slide, only different from an ordinary writing-table by reason of two sunk half-circles near the front, obvious handle places, with the help of which it is easy to slide it back. When this is done a looking-glass is revealed in the centre, while on both sides, exquisitely made in unpolished cedar-wood, are the most elaborate fittings—on the right hand for writing materials, and on the left for cosmetics apparently, for many of the boxes are lined with tinfoil. This is a characteristic Sheraton piece. Judging by the inlay, a band of satinwood half an inch wide close to the edge, it is an early piece. Its colour is curious. It is very light, though of mahogany, and it has a curious translucent appearance, almost as if it were made of satinwood stained red. I have seen a few other pieces with this same curious

INLAID MAHOGANY SERPENTINE FRONTED TOILETTE GLASS, with oval mirror. {In the possession of Egan Mew, Esq.)

INLAID MAHOGANY BOW-FRONTED TOILETTE GLASS, with mirror placed lengthwise. (In the possession of F. Fenn, Esq.)

INLAID HAREWOOD PIER TABLE, with plaster - work decoration and carved legs gilt. Late XVIII century. (/;/ the Possession of Mrs. Wyllie.)

TOP OF HAREWOOD PIER TABLE, inlaid with satinwood and green-stained wood etched.

appearance, one in particular, a serpentine-fronted chest-of-drawers, with a serpentine-fronted cabinet above, containing the toilette-glass and cosmetic boxes in small-sized drawers shut in by solid wood doors.

Sheraton seems to have disliked the deep red mahogany of Chippendale's and Hepple-white's fancy, and to have communicated his dislike to others, for all the pieces of genuinely antique inlaid furniture are of lightish coloured mahogany, though not many have this curious translucent appearance. One of the things most commonly known as " Sheraton " is the pier-table. It is a half-circle table, always with an inlaid top, generally of harewood or satinwood, standing on four legs, taper legs in some cases, in others round or grooved, and carved and decorated with plaster work before they were gilt. Sheraton is responsible for the introduction of the round leg in English furniture. It is one of the few details which, I think, would " never have been missed."

Taste in furniture has been making for delicacy and simplicity from early Chippendale days right through the Hepplewhite reign, and it was not therefore entirely Sheraton's idiosyncrasy of idea that gave us the new

0 0

Post a comment