With a diminutive and restrained profile, this fine George II period kneehole desk is characterized by a single full width frieze drawer over a hidden centre drawer with “cupid’s bow” scalloping over a prospect door set back into the case. This is flanked on either side by three small graduated drawers, all being lined in oak and finely hand dovetailed, retaining original fire gilt brasses and keyhole escutcheons (two replaced) and a single original key. Perhaps the most striking aspect of the desk is the crisply fluid chamfered corners with “lamb’s tongue“ transitions, this is handled incredibly well and shows a certain mastery that is noteworthy. The top is veneered with mahogany and surrounded by an applied thumb-molded edge that projects just slightly over the three sides. Resting over scroll cut bracket feet, all of these are original other than a single facing; most blocking is also original. The back of the desk retains the original pine backboards with forged iron nails affixing the edges.
These are generally identified both as kneehole desks and dressing tables and there has been some discussion about their original purposes; however, it is generally agreed that they were intended for use in the bedroom mutually as a writing desk and table. They are often found fitted with brushing slides and mirrors as well as fitted writing supply drawers. The present example is an exception from the more standard Georgian kneehole for its excellent color, the superb Chippendale brasses throughout and the treatment of the corner columns. It is a very fine acquisition for collectors of Fine period English furnishings.
Measurements: 33 3/8” W x 18 1/4” D x 30” H.
Retains one working key. Mostly original brasses: two keyhole escutcheons are early replacements. Surface is early: stains and evidence of color matching to top, veneer losses at both front corners, minor scuffs/losses throughout as expected. Old shrinkage cracks in mahogany. Back proper right foot facing is replaced (a very early replacement, likely 19th century).
English Chippendale Mahogany Kneehole Writing Table, Circa 1750-70