English Mahogany Chippendale Drop front Desk c1780-1810

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  • Item Category: Furniture & Furnishings
  • Source: eBay
  • Sold Date: Jan 22, 2011
  • Channel: Auction House

Please note, we have a very large collection of additional images of this piece available for your enjoyment below.

This listing is for an 18th Century English Slant Front Desk. It is entirely solid highly figured mahogany of incredible breadth. The case sides, top and slant front are all composed of 100% single solid boards. Finding boards with grains rivaling the sheer intensity in this piece in such perfect condition is a rare delight. The case features four carefully graduated drawers, each sized in growing proportion to the next, with replaced batwing hardware. The drawers are wonderful construction, utilizing incredible solid golden English oak secondaries to lock the entire drawer case together, each one entirely hand dovetailed, hand chamfered and lined with cockbead molding. They slide out of a fully enclosed casing, with a full top and bottom dust slat to protect the contents of each drawer from the drawer above. This is a feature typically found in English construction, and is a wonderful convenience for functionality. The dust slats are pine secondaries, with a thick strip of mahogany over the front to maintain presentation. The dust slats have rough kerf marks throughout from when they were hand sawn and left unfinished.
The face of the desk has one of the most beautiful choices in mahogany we've ever seen - it quite literally glows, with unprecedented swirling flame in the solid grains. It drops down on two solid mahogany pulls, revealing a broad clean writing surface, a mirror of the front. The locking hardware, as well as both hinges appear to be period originals to the piece, entirely being hand crafted and light variations visible throughout the hardware. There is some filling wood that was placed on the left hand hinge, but it appears to be original as the right hand side fits perfectly with no adjustments. The interior is a gallery of mail slots over small hand crafted hand dovetailed drawers. The center has a small door that pulls open with a hidden drawer on the top, in the same style as other mail slots but with larger proportions - the glue holding the slides dried over time to loose it's grip, so while it is an easy adjustment to make, the desk will be sold with the drawer as pictured. This leaves the option to you as the customer to simply glue the blocks in place as it originally was, or to nail them for a more permanent fix. This small door has a lock gap where the original lock used to rest - this lock is actually still with the piece, and is visible in the photos below in one of the drawers. It is entirely hand forged and comes with what appears to be the original key. Both sides of this small door are flanked by square fluted columns, both of which are in fact secret compartments that slide out for hidden documents. The back of the piece is wonderful, with incredible levels of oxidization and intense kerf marks throughout from a rough hand sawn origin. It has small hand wrought square nails throughout.
The entire case rests carefully on four bracket feet, all of which appear to be fully original. This is a stunning piece to just look at, and in any room it brings warmth and character. It is a rare find, particularly in such whole condition, and a wonderful addition to any collector of fine English antique furniture.
20" deep by 38 1/2" wide by 41 1/2" high
Visually Outstanding Condition -
Refinished at some point in the past. Minor stains and scuffs to top, all visible in photos. Replaced drawer hardware. Dings and abrasions throughout consistent with age. Left hand top side of lid has repairs to lip. Drawer locks have not been tested, nor is there an available key. Tape on drawer bottoms with spacing between two board oak bottoms. Spacing on back of piece was filled on left side with piece of pine - this was done at an early point, with square headed nails still visible on the strip. Pine piece inside one drawer for interior of desk - not essential, but can quite easily be reins...