An extremely fine case piece, it exhibits careful craftsmanship, attention to detail and richness of material throughout. A distinctly English interpretation of the generally French "Secrétaire à Abattant", it is dressed in a chaotic and exotic rosewood veneer throughout the sides and front.
Beneath a gilt-highlighted egg-and-dart border, a single drawer withdraws from beneath the top; this very finely hand-dovetailed with crisp precise pins in the mahogany secondary woods.
The fall-front lid is weighted inside of the case in some hidden manner that creates a counter-balance effect and allows for an incredibly smooth and controlled descent of the lid. This does not need to be supported in any way, as the internal design and thickness of the fall-front lid provide an incredible sturdy surface for practical use.
The fitted interior is a delightful display of eight pigeon-hole letter slots over stacks of six smaller drawers flanking five broader drawers over a paper stacking compartment. The gilt-tooled black leather has a repeating anthemion motif surrounding the border.
Beneath the writing area, a pair of cabinet doors open to reveal a shelved interior with turned knobs that can be used to adjust the height of the single shelf.
A pair of columns flank the writing surface, these capped and footed with stamped and chased brass elements. The upper caps are stamped with repeating rosettes set in a diamond lattice-work over an infinite-border. The lower caps show a repeating anthemion border.
There is a boldness in the oversized cupped feet, each of which terminates in a ring turning on the lowest edge, that is typical of the William IV period. The hint at changes in proportions from dainty to bold that follow this period can be found in the subtle differences between Regency period pieces and that of William IV.
It remains an exceptional acquisition for anyone passionate about fine English antiques.
Measurements: 52" H x 35" W x 19 5/8" D; writing area is 29 1/4" H from ground, 28 1/2" W and 18 7/8" D
Condition Report: Missing small piece of veneer on back corner of the right side top edge; missing original keys, a key included just to operate the front but not the locks. Minor scuffs and abrasions to the surface throughout, including scuffs to the leather. Minor patched and filled cracks in veneers (right side of the case).
William IV Antique Rosewood Writing Desk Secrétaire á Abattant, English circa 1835