11506 A REMARKABLE GEORGE III CUBAN MAHOGANY OPEN LIBRARY FOLIO CABINET COMBINING THREE ADJUSTABLE READING OR DISPLAY STANDS English. Circa 1800. Measurements: Closed: Width: 32 3/4″ (83.2 cm); Depth: 26 3/8″ (67 cm); Height: 55 3/8″ (140.6 cm). Maximum depth when open, approximately: 56″ (142 cm); Maximum height when open, approximately: 75″ (190.5 cm).
Of solid Cuban Mahogany. The rectangular ratcheted top with thumb molded edge rests upon an open structure fitted with two opposing ratchet reading stands and slides. The lower structure with open sides with two central divisions for the storage of folios. The whole resting upon four original square capped brass castors. Some minor old repairs.
Thomas Jefferson is said to have designed the bookstand in Figure 1, which was completed circa 1810 at the Monticello Joinery.
Although Jefferson’s bookstand is a table object of much smaller scale than the present freestanding piece, both share the spirit of efficiency as well as very similar ratcheting mechanisms, which allows one reading flap to fold upwards from its horizontal ‘lid’ position, while another folds outwards underneath it from its vertical hanging position, creating the impression of a continuous slope.