English mahogany bureau

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English mahogany bureau

£12,500.00

English mahogany bureau, cabinet, bookcase and secretary with secret compartments.

Height: 8’4″
Width: 4′
Depth: 24″
Ca.: 1750
Stock number: BHA928
Price: £ 12,500

Description

An impressive English mahogany bureau, cabinet, bookcase and secretary with secret compartments. In mahogany and parcel gilt and in the manner of Giles Grendey (1693-1780).

The top section with a broken arch pediment and dentil cornice. The frieze well carved with Gothic arcaded blind fretwork. Centred by a later urn shaped finial.

The cabinet with two carved parcel-gilt gesso bordered ogee shaped doors. Old but later mirror plates enclosing a fitted interior with eight drawers and adjustable shelves.

The cleated fall, with its original lock, now fitted with a wine red, gilt tooled writing surface revealing an exceptionally high quality arrangement of canopied drawers and pigeon holes. The interior is centred by an arched architectural overdoor which pulls out as a secret drawer. The floor within the central door also slides forward revealing a secret recess.

Below, is an arrangement of three long and three short cock-beaded drawers. The outer short drawers, unusually fitted with sliding writing surfaces with matching wine red gilt tooled leather, serve as supports to the hinged fall. All set with original swan neck brass mounts and key escutcheons. All in high quality mahogany and oak lined throughout. This English mahogany bureau displays fine rich colour and surface.

Our English mahogany bureau is raised on ogee bracket feet (apparently original).

The ‘Cabinet-Maker and Chair-Maker’ Giles Grendey was described in 1740 as ‘A great Dealer in the Cabinet Way’. He carried out a considerable export trade from Aylesbury House in St. John’s Square, London. He was appointed Upper Warden of the Joiner’s Company in 1747 and its Master in 1766. His son-in-law, John Cobb, was granted a court appointment as cabinet-maker to George III.

Records of Grendey’s export business have never been doubted. A fire that badly damaged his workshop in 1731 also destroyed furniture to the value of £1,000, that he ‘had pack’d for Exportation against the next Morning’. It is a tantalising possibility that the destroyed export furniture was intended for Spain and that the existing Lazcano suite is in fact its replacement.

These sophisticated and classic architectural bureau cabinet/ bookcases are reminiscent of some of William Kent’s earlier designs (1685-1748).

See a drawing of a chimney piece surround in the Victoria & Albert Museum showing similarities in the treatment of a pediment.

vanda@vam.ac.uk

Gallery location:

Prints & Drawings Study Room, level E, case A, shelf 156  Museum no 208.

An antique bureau cabinet is often referred to as a ‘secretary’ in the U.S.

Sothebys offered an almost identical bureau cabinet in the Devenish Collection sale 24th April 2008 lot 26 est. USD $20,000-30,000.

Vis S. Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London.,1730-1840, 2008 2 vols. Vol II p. 61 pl. 607.

Percy Macquoid – History of English Furniture, vol. III ‘The Age of Mahogany’, pl.7.

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