Bookcase Cabinet with Desk Interior

Cabinet Secretary Bookcase by Duncan Phyfe: Interior showing stacked short drawers flanking a fall front desk with two shelves above and two shelves below.
Cabinet Secretary Bookcase by Duncan Phyfe:  Bookcase Cabinet with Desk interior with flat oblong pediment top over a tall case having a pair of paneled cabinet doors with glazed arched and Gothic tracery windows in the top half flanked by pilasters with acanthus carved capitals, opening to a bookcase with four adjustable shelves bisected by a fall front secretary section with stacked short drawers with original stamped brass pulls flanking the fall front writing surface, all resting on a base raised on acanthus carved animal paw feet and turned legs in back.

BOOKCASE CABINET With DESK INTERIOR in the Classical taste

In the Manner of Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854)

New York c. 1820

Bookcase Cabinet with Desk interior with flat oblong pediment top over a tall case having a pair of paneled cabinet doors with glazed arched and Gothic tracery windows in the top half flanked by pilasters with acanthus carved capitals, opening to a bookcase with four adjustable shelves bisected by a fall front secretary section with stacked short drawers with original stamped brass pulls flanking the fall front writing surface, all resting on a base raised on acanthus carved animal paw feet and turned legs in back.

H: 80” W: 55” D: 19”

Condition: Excellent: The bronze keyhole escutcheon mounts are  replacements for missing mounts, probably of this design.  The bronze astragal molding is a replacement. Replaced molded cornice on proper right pilaster. Some veneer replacements on bottom case rail. Re-finished with shellac in the manner of the period.

This handsome and useful form has no known counterparts in American classical furniture and may be unique. The form is seen in plate 732 of Pierre de La Mésangère’s Collection des Meubles et Objets de Goût (Paris, 1832-1834) and M. Paul Cornu’s reprint of a selection of Mésangère’s plates, Meubles et Objets de Goût (Paris, 1900), pl. 109, where it is described as a Bibliothèque. This design, in the Restauration taste, must be predicated on an unpublished model at least fifteen years older, as the present example clearly pre-dates the Mésangère design.

Mésangère’s plates were published serially from 1802 to 1835, a few plates at a time, in cahiers or albums as a supplement to the Journal des Dames et de Modes. These designs, already in production in France, heavily influenced both English and American designers. Related cabinet bookcases do not seem to appear in English pattern books of the period.

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