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George II Kneehole Antique Dressing Table, England c. 1750
FINE GEORGE II MAHOGANY KNEEHOLE DRESSING TABLE, England c. 1750
Item # 10105PII25
Crafted of well figured solid single boards of mahogany on the top and sides, this finely executed dressing table is intended as a statement piece for a fine Georgian bedroom. A simply molded edge is routed into the perimeter of the top, each inset corner attractively scalloped. All drawers feature crisply hand cut dovetail wings and pins along the front and back, these remaining remarkably light with their thin oak frame construction and bottoms.
The simple hand forged brass hardware on each drawer remains original with hand cut nuts securing the pins through the backs. Inside each drawer, as well as the tiny door in the kneehole area, metal locks are secured with later cut nails and functional. The locks do appear to be original, each cut on the corner for all small drawers to accommodate the hardware pins. Each drawer is lip-molded and slides flawlessly in and out of the desk.
Just below the top drawer is a somewhat disguised drawer, intended to simply appear as a part of the frame design. The wide top drawer pulls out to reveal a full pine dust shelf, protecting drawers below from saw dust and other debris as it opens and closes. The first few inches are solid mahogany, through which the inner boards of the desk tenon through, joining the frame permanently and invisibly. A small prospect door opens in the knee hole on original brass hinges secured with original hand cut screws to reveal a compartment divided by a single oak shelf.
The desk rests over bracket feet that we believe remain entirely original, though all blocking has been replaced over time. It is difficult to be certain if the feet are truly original or are simply hand cut replacements, as the rough tooling and chiseling of the secondary surfaces is in every way what would be expected in period feet - however, the color variation between the case, molding and feet suggests that the feet might be early replacements that are simply very well crafted.
The back of the desk is lined with several thin oak boards, each with grains running perpendicular to the base and chamfered around the edges, tacked with tiny brads and nearly black with oxidization. Later nails secure these backboards, probably readjusted for shrinking along the grains.
This is a very fine acquisition for the collector of English furnishings, remaining in marvelous condition and with outstanding color and patination. Originally intended as a dressing table in the bedroom, this would be a gorgeous statement piece for living areas where it can be more fully appreciated.
Identical example (though with inferior replaced brasses) sold at Wilkinson's Auctioneers, Doncaster, UK (April 27th, 2014, lot 739) for $4,740 inc. premium
British Antique Furniture, John Andrews, 1989, p. 236: an identical example - valuation of 6,000-8,000 GBP
Measurements: 30 1/4" wide x 19 3/16" deep x 30 3/4" high
Condition Report: Surface with a wonderful mellowed patination, refinished in the last century or so with only light use indicators; the top has some discoloration from uneven sun fading. Most drawers with little losses or molding patches, a few patches also to the drawer blades. All feet blocking is replaced, probably around the end of the 19th century; we believe the feet are original, though there is some color variation between the feet and case that might suggest they are early replacements. All brasses are original, locks are probably original with later cut nails tightening them up. One drawer with a replacement to the upper half of the oak back. Backboards are original and secured with later nails. Surface blemishes from use including old cracking (feet/molding), some white paint marks to the feet along with other light scuffing, minor scratches and abrasions. Overall a simply gorgeous dressing table in a remarkable state of preservation.
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