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19th Century Kidney Shaped Desk

19th Century Kidney Shaped Desk


circa 1850 - 1860

A very fine 19th century rosewood and tulipwood ormolu mounted kidney-shaped pedestal desk.

The kidney-shaped leather top has recently been re-lined with an antique black hide with broken gilt tooling. The edging is bevelled in tulipwood and the top is inlaid and crossbanded with tulipwood and rosewood veneers and retains the original gilt brass gallery.

The ormolu mounts that decorate the frieze and flank the slender rosewood and tulipwood banded drawer fronts are neatly and uniquely crossbanded with stringing to the inside banding only and this feature can be seen throughout the desk. The drawer fronts are adorned with all the original gilt brass rococo handles and fitted with brass escutcheons and locks. The four graduated mahogany lined drawers to each pedestal base are fitted with brass locks and the majority of these are original and stamped with the manufacturer of the day's impress.

The kidney-shaped desk is made in three parts with a detachable top and two bases and unlike the one piece kidney-shaped desk that Gillows made, this desk is more practical to move.

The desk is highly figured throughout with full length rosewood veneers to the sides and back of the pedestal bases. They are framed in faux panelled sections that match the frieze to the reverse.

The desk stands on a thumbnail moulded ormolu mounted rosewood veneered plinth base and is raised on concealed castors.

The desk currently in stock is undoubtedly made by a London firm and although we have three possible sources below we cannot say who made the desk with any certainty. However all the materials, mounts and cabinet work are of high quality and the desk remains a one off and currently unattributable.

The 19th century and updated design of a (modern) kidney-shaped desk is from the well known furniture company of the day, Gillow's of London and Lancaster, although desks of this pattern were produced by other firms such as Hindley and Holland & Sons in the 19th century. The design relates to an entry in the Gillow Estimate Sketch book (1840) for An Oak Pedestal and Kidney Table supplied to Ferguson & Co. The model is derived from a design published by Thomas Sheraton in his The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book, London 1802, pl.58. Gillow produced these desks for several decades in the middle of the 19th century.

Other examples of kidney-shaped desks by the Gillow firm were sold by Bonhams London, 14 March 2006, lot 14, 24 January 2006, lot 262 and 25 November 2003, lot 177. An example in rosewood signed by W.J Barrow was sold at Christie's London 13 November 1997, lot 174. Further unsigned examples were sold by Sotheby's London 30 November 2001, lot 126, 29 November 2000, lot 97 and 30 November 2001, lot 126.




Height 75.00cm (29.53 inches)

Width 137.00cm (53.94 inches)

Depth 60.00cm (23.62 inches)

Stock No: 11381


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