Fine antique 18th century English mahogany secretaire bookcase circa 1760's. Attributed to the workshop of Thomas Chippendale. The broken swan-neck pediment with rosette terms centering fretwork and a platform above a pierced stiff leaf frieze and rope twist gadrooning. The cabinet top fitted with geometric astral glazed doors, three adjustable red painted pine slide shelves with mahogany front edges, the base top edge with fine gadrooned pagoda canopy, carved acanthus leaves to the corners of the gadrooned edge, This extra carving the corners of the pagoda gadrooning is seldom seen. The secretaire interior of plain design, with four pigeon holes, and five drawers, one drawer lower right is fitted with two compartments for ink pots and writing items, each with original Dutch brass axe shape handles . The hinges fitted to the secretaire drawer bear the H. TIBATS stamp, which has been noted on a number of distinguished pieces of case furniture dating from the mid-18th century including the renowned “Messer Cabinet” attributed to Thomas Chippendale. Cock beaded edge to the drawers of graduating size with figured mahogany fronts, fitted with the fine gilt bronze handles, the legs of Ogee shaped bracket feet, with laminated secondary legs behind the brackets legs, with red painted finish. Similar types of pagoda canopy waisted moldings to that on the present lot appear on display cabinets or 'China Cases' among the designs in Thomas Chippendale's seminal "The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director", originally published three times between 1754 and 1762. The small size of this piece would indicate it may have been a special order secretaire. By descent to the current family member - Ex Estate of Sir Peter Tennant OBE, intelligence officer, linguist and businessman: born 29 November 1910; OBE 1945; Overseas Director, FBI 1952-63, Deputy Director-General 1963-65, Special Adviser, CBI 1964-65; CMG 1958; Director- General, British National Export Council 1965-71; Kt 1972;1995); died Haslemere, Surrey 22 December 1996.
Approx Total height 246 cm x 91.5 cm wide at base x top and pelmet 135 cm total. 54 cm depth, case top 32.5 cm depth.
The pelmet is a much darker colour to the top and base, appears original to the cabinet, see pictures of the corners clearly showing the pelmet corners with previous stiff leaves parts damaged, along with matching corner carving, some previous old restorations present with the fret work. Has minor fret work losses, See pictures. Stiff leaf frieze losses to the swan neck scroll. See pictures. The cabinet top is solid, no splits, one glass pane replaced with 18th century glass. Remainder appear original. The case door lock is a replacement and is the escutcheon. Key is later made to fit the lock. Glazing bars and all original and solid. The secretaire base is solid, no splitting at the sides. Split visible to base of the secretaire drawer, small losses ot veneer visible at the brass hinge contact point of the drop drown secretaire drawer. Handles are original to the drawers. All locks appear original to the drawers, and are fitted fine gilt bronze handles, showing rubbing with gilt losses on the bale handles. with hand cut screw backs and lugs. Hinges and brass ware are original the secretaire. see pictures. The cock beading has losses in places, some lose pieces of cock beading are present in one drawer of the secretaire. The legs are original and solid. Traces of recent glue to one bracket leg. See Pictures. See Christies Lot 40 - Thomas Chippendale Secretaire bookcase 10th November 2021 with dark contrasting pelmet. See Lot 60 Christie's 22nd October 2010 for another secretaire bookcase with dark contrasting pelmet by Thomas Chippendale
Attribution is based on key factors- The attribution based on these stylistic affinities is further supported by constructional ones, in particular the use of a red wash on secondary timbers, the stacked or laminated glue blocks that secure the bracket feet, and the shaped drawer stops. These features are all associated with Chippendale's workshop practice and offer further evidence in support of a firm attribution alongside the designs that are characteristic of the master cabinetmaker.