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Just the very best Bureau

Friday 21st August 2015 at 14:33

Every once in a while as a dealer one is allowed to let the old imagination run riot and mine certainly was running if not racing when I saw this Mahogany Bureau. Even from the outside there was something about it which started all my senses twitching and I am sure you have all seen the scene from "Lovejoy" where he spits on his fingers and instantly starts rubbing a piece of furniture. I did a Lovejoy and as the dirt and dust transferred from the carcass of the piece to my hand so I caught the glimmer of the most wonderful cuts of Mahogany peering through the layers of filth. This piece had been neglected for decades and had been stored in a garage by the looks of it. It may even have been the accountants desk in a garage but it needed desperately to have large amounts of TLC lavished on it.

All the bits that appeared to be missing had been carefully put in envelopes in the top drawer so whenit arrived in my conservation department we started the work of putting the jigsaw pieces all back together again in the correct order. The interior is very complex with its carved column capitals, ogee shaped mirrored central door and chequer banding everywhere. Even the leather which could be the original is ogee shaped and there is a large inlaid starburst between the writing surface and the mirrored door.


Everyone always wants to know where the secret compartments are but this bureau goes to a higher level of sophistication in that all four columns can be locked by sliding a wooden bolt secreted away in the upper dust board of the adjacent drawers. If you look carefully you should be able to make out the bolt which appears in the opening left by removing the column secret compartment and the hole in the side of the compartment to recive the bolt.

The more usual sliding pigeon hole friezes seem somewhat superfluous in this instance. It is the most incredible feeling to sit and work at this desk and every morning when I see it I marvel at the choice of Mahogany. It has a profusion of both fiddle-back and plum-pudding figures within flames or crotches and i can almost believe the cabinetmaker back in 1765 holding on to his special timbers waiting for the right client to come along or did he make it for his own use two hundred and fifty years ago - that would explain a lot as how many people in the reign of George III would have appreciated the degree of workmanship that went into this fantastic Bureau.

This really is just as satisfying on the outside as on the inside and represents an amazing opportunity to acquire a work of great beauty.




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