11346

A PAIR OF BOW FRONTED FIGURED MAHOGANY DWARF OPEN DISPLAY SHELVES OR BOOKCASES

English. Early Nineteenth Century.

Measurements

Height to marble: 37 1/2" (95.3 cm)
Width: 42 3/4" (108.6 cm)
Depth: 15 1/2" (39.4 cm)
Height to gallery: 39" (99 cm).

Research
Of mahogany with dark wood inlay. Gilt brass embellishments. Each with slightly bow fronted statuary marble top to which is attached a three quarter gilt-brass foliate gallery. The central section with three finely figured bowfront shelves each with line inlaid edge. The shelves are flanked by a pair of reeded columns within a right angled enclosure. The figured mahogany back with rectangular box line inlay. Each side set with three lacquered brass tubular ‘strings.’ The whole raised on four turned toupie feet. 

Provenance:
Kentshire Galleries
A Massachusetts Estate

The present pair of bookcases can be defined stylistically as being in the Directoire taste, exemplifying the influence of French neoclassicism on English design during the Regency period.1 Details such as the toupie feet and semi-enclosed columns to thedom front columns, along with the overall unembellished simplicity and elegant utility of the shelves, were carried over from this period of French decorative arts, which was more sober and marked by a restrained use of materials. The lacquered gilt brass rods enclosing each side of the shelves further contribute to a light and pleasing rectilinear design.

The enthusiasm in England for French 18th century furniture was spurred after the French revolution, when pieces were made available for import. They were collected by the aristocracy and nobility, including the Duke of Wellington and the Prince Regent, who, as king, George IV, was heavily responsible for the popularization of the style.

The designer most credited with establishing this style in Great Britain was the neoclassicist architect Henry Holland. His keynote was always toward the subtle and austere; consequently the style chimed well with his aesthetic. Holland’s notable building and remodeling projects established a style that drew on the restrained richness of the Louis XVI manner, assimilating the latest developments of French taste into the more sober tradition of English design.2

Full research report available on request.

Full research report available on request.