11527 A RARE EARLY GEORGE III MAHOGANY DOUBLE RATCHETED READING-CUM-DRAWING TABLE English. Circa 1760. Measurements: Height when closed: 36″ (91.4 cm) Approximate height when fully open: 58″ (147.3 cm) Depth: 18 1/2″ (46.9 cm); Width: 24 1/2″ (62.2 cm).
The rectangular double ratcheted top with ‘D’ molded edge with inset original black leather panel enclosed by an ebony boxwood band. When closed the top rests at a slope upon an incurved paneled ledge. The lower part composed of four square legs united by stretchers which support two incurved shelves. Curved blind fretted housing to the sides accommodate the original brass ratchets which activates by means of original adjacent brass trapezoidal drop handle. Minor repairs. Later rectangular shelves (and backboard) were removed to reveal original incurved plateaus (photos available). Old minor repairs.
Tables for reading and drawing often combined a desk with adjustable top that rose to create an inclined surface via a ratcheting mechanism, as well as an adjustable height so that a person could sit or stand while working. Tables with ratcheted tops appeared in the first edition of Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (1754) Plate 49, described as a writing table with a double rising top. Similar designs described as ‘Writing and Reading Tables’ appeared in Ince & Mayhew’s Universal System of Household Furniture (1762).
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