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Small 18th Century Desk Designed by Thomas Sheraton

Small 18th Century Desk Designed by Thomas Sheraton


circa 1785 - 1795

George III period mahogany inlaid cylinder desk of diminutive size.

The 2ft wide figured mahogany desk is inlaid and crossbanded throughout with satinwood and boxwood inlay. The rectangular inlaid top surface above the cylinder roll top fall is deep enough to accommodate a desk lamp and other accessories. The roll top cylinder lid is veneered in plum-pudding mahogany and crossbanded with an oval satinwood banding. The cylinder rolls up and inward when you pull the fitted drawer out using the original 'Gillow designed' bail handles, this activates the secretaire drawer.

The secretaire drawer is fully fitted with highly figured flamed mahogany lined drawers. The mahogany lined drawers are a graduated and flank three pigeon holes. The cabinet stands on finely tapered mahogany legs and spade toes.

The illustrated black and white image we show, is the original design by Thomas Sheraton albeit with a glazed bookcase on top. The cylinder desk we have in stock is made by Gillows of Lancaster and London and is of a rare size.

THOMAS SHERATON (1751 -1806)
He was born in Durham, England and was trained as a cabinet maker but at the age of 39 he moved and
settled in London around 1790 in Davies Street, and then Wardour Street, where he taught perspective and furniture design. After 1793 he practically gave up the cabinet-making business and became a designer and a publisher of books. It is upon these that his fame chiefly rests, though there is evidence to prove that he was himself a workman of rare gifts.

His first essay in the publishing field was a series of eighty-four designs, not dated, and now very rare, his "Drawing Book", appeared in 1791, in quarto form, with 111 plates. An "Accompaniment" and "Appendix" were published during the following two years. A second edition appeared in parts from 1793 to 1796, with 119 plates, and a third edition in 1802, with 122 plates. In 1803 his "Dictionary" appeared, and in 1804-7 his " Encyclopaedia", in 125 parts, of which he lived to publish only thirty. There was also a posthumous volume by him, published in 1812, made up chiefly of plates from the "Dictionary" and "Encyclopaedia", and called "Designs for Household Furniture".

"The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book" 1791-1794

The full title of the third edition of his first book, containing 122 copper plates, is: "The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book. In four parts. By Thomas Sheraton, Cabinet-Maker".

He had a remarkable sense of style, and the designs show lightness and great elegance. Characterised by classical proportions and slim, straight tapered legs that replaced the heavier cabriole legs of the mid 18th century, his furniture featured the use of exotic hardwoods such as Satinwood, Rosewood and Ebony. Common marquetry motifs include drapery swags, ribbons, fans, and urns, but all restrained and elegant. Particularly popular were the inlaid oval panels.
His influence as a designer was huge – over 700 cabinet-makers bought ‘The Drawing Book’ and his designs were adopted by makers throughout the Regency period.




Ref: Sheraton Furniture Designs from the Cabinet-Maker's and Upholsterer's Drawing - Book 1791-1794.


Height 104.00 (writing height 75.00)cm (40.94 inches)

Width 61.00cm (24.02 inches)

Depth 51.00cm (20.08 inches)

Stock No: 10734


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