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Today we often put canterburys to use as magazine holders, which they seem perfectly designed for. However, when they were first made in England around 1780, they were chiefly considered holders for pages of music. This was a time when increased worldwide trade was bringing in even more wealth (at least for the landed aristocracy and merchant classes), with a subsequent increased demand for more elegance in furniture design.
For elegant Georgian homes, mahogany from the exotic West Indies was the preferred wood and it commands a higher price over most woods even today. Later, canterburys were made of walnut and rosewood. By the 1860s they were considered status symbols in American homes. And by the end of the 19th century, many were made in brass or combinations of metal and wood.
This canterbury is nothing if not elegant. Although it features a charming simplicity, there are interesting design features such as the turned wood finials on each of the four corners, the turned joiner between the top two crossbars and the wonderful bulbous turned feet that are set on solid brass casters.
In addition, I believe the dramatically beautiful wood in the drawer was from a different tree; it resembles the crosscut wood that is called “flame,” the especially beautiful grain that is formed at the forks of mahogany trees. The drawer has a pretty beaded edge and intricately turned knobs for the pulls. One of the more unusual features of this Canterbury is that the drawer still has its original lock and key. The large piece of wood used for the platform upon which the music sheets rested has a beautiful grain patination. The layers of age of the tree are clearly visible.
The color of this piece is wonderful, having acquired a rich, warm color as well as a soft glowing patina. It has a satiny feel to it.
It is in excellent condition, and I have had it professionally polished to bring out its superb color and patina.
It measures 19 inches wide, 15-5/8 inches deep and 22 inches high.
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