The Fine Sale | 22 November 2017

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Lot no.


A George III mahogany breakfront library bookcase , circa 1780

Sold for £8500

Est: £8000–12000

A George III mahogany breakfront library bookcase , circa 1780, in the manner of Thomas Chippendale, the moulded cornice centred by a carved twin scroll pediment, above six astragal glazed doors opening to adjustable shelves, the lower section with six panelled cupboard doors opening to a shelved interior, on a moulded plinth base, 278cm high, 380cm wide, 65cm deep
Provenance: Property from the Estates of J W T & S M F Tapp, Southborough House, Surbiton
Purchased from R.A Lee, (circa 1980's)
Comparative Literature:
Christopher Gilbert, The Life and Works of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, 2 vols.
Anthony Coleridge, Chippendale Furniture, 1968
The present lot closely relates in design and scale to a pair of impressive bookcases, supplied by Thomas Chippendale to Sir Lawrence Dundas (1712-1781) for his library at 19 Arlington Street, Piccadilly, London (sold Christie's London, 18 June 2008, lot 6 £2,057,250) and for his country seat in Yorkshire Aske Hall in 1764. The Arlington and Aske bookcases which were invoiced at £80 and £73 respectively were the most expensive items of furniture on Chippendale's invoice to Sir Lawrence Dundas. The offered bookcase is a simplified version of the Dundas examples, lacking the carved elements to the pilasters and cupboard lower section doors. Its design incorporates an amalgamation of features, reproduced in Chippendale’s patterns for a `Library Bookcase’, illustrated in his Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director, 1st and 3rd eds., 1754 and 1762, respectively plates 69 and 93. In particular these are the dentilled cornice and glazing-bar configuration. The scrolled and voluted pediment is also reproduced on Chippendale's pattern for 'A Desk & Bookcase' illustrated in the 1st edition of the Director, pl. 78 and again in the 3rd edition, pl. 108. Actual examples of case furniture supplied by Chippendale featuring versions of the same distinctive pediment include a secretaire library bookcase supplied for Pembroke House and now at Wilton House illustrated C. Gilbert, The Life and Works of Thomas Chippendale, 1978, 2 vols., vol. II, p. 42, pl. 66; another library bookcase forming part of the same commission and also now at Wilton (see C. Gilbert op. cit., p. 44, pl. 68; a secretaire bookcase at Aske Hall (see C. Gilbert op. cit., p. 56, pl. 87) and a Lady's secretaire supplied to Sir Roland Winn Bt. for Nostell Priory (see C. Gilbert op. cit., p. 58, pl. 90).

Marks, scratches and abrasions consistent with age and use, some areas of longer and darker scratches
Old chips and splits
Some sections of replacement and some losses to veneers
Generally fair condition, tidy overall
Cleaned and polished appearance
Please refer to additional images for visual reference to condition
The bookcase has been cut in half at some time, see images showing how it has been altered and later timber introduced as simple joints, the gap showing is due to not being assembled tightly or the uneven floor where the bookcase is situated
The top of the lower section has later veneered sections in broad bands along 'cut' line and across the front of one side.
It has also had later veneers to each end section, please refer to images
Top has faded, has deep scratch along grain and marks/ grazes across grain
The piece now breaks into two base sections, two top sections, a carved cornice and a small pediment, the doors and shelves are seperate as required
The rear panels of the glazed cabinet sections are oak. They have previously been cleaned and waxed
The rear panels to the lower cupboard section are red stained pine
The mahogany fronted oak shelves have also previously been cleaned and waxed
The top of the lower section is faded in colour
The moulded plinth section fronting the central section was adapted and is removable, this must have been done at point at which the bookcase was cut in half
Several panes of glass later replaced (some untidiness to putty to reverse of panels give indication of replacements)
To outer edges of central doors, additional marks exist where they have hit the keys to adjacent doors when opened fully, a small lozenge shaped veneer repair has been made to the right side (approx. 5x3cm)
The central 'plinth' section of the cornice has been later reveneered. the timebr matches well but the meeting of the veneers is apparent on close inspection
All locks, key escutcheons and lock catches replaced
As previous locks and catches were longer, fillets of timber have been neatly placed to fill gaps
Small fillets of veneer/ timber have been neatly introduced around each key escutcheon to disguise marks from previous escutcheons
Generally the timber matches well but the shape is visible on inspection
To each door on the far left and right side of the base, one hinge on the left side previously torn away carrying a section of timber with it and re-glued
Opposing door with one hinge torn away and an associated geometric fillet of timber introduced to replace torn away fragment
Some more noticeable and concentrated areas of scratching to the top of the lower section .The deepest shelf is 38cm deep

The Fine Sale

Wednesday 22 November 2017, 10.00am

Donnington Priory
Oxford Road
RG14 2JE


Sunday 19 November
10am - 2pm
Monday 20 November
9am - 5.30pm
Tuesday 21 November
9.00am - 4.30pm
Day of sale from 8.30am

Important Information

This website includes general reports of the condition of the property for various lots in this Sale. The absence of any condition or condition report does not mean, or imply, that the lot is free from any damage or restoration. If you require a condition report, please click on the Enquire about this lot button on the lot details page. We are not professional restorers and do not undertake conservation, and we strongly recommend that you consult such a professional of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed report. Whilst we undertake every reasonable effort to provide a comprehensive representation of every item, prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition. Any statement, whether written or verbal made by The Fine Art Auction Group (trading as Dreweatts, Dreweatts 1759 and Bloomsbury Auctions), its staff and agents, is a subjective, qualified opinion and is only provided on this basis. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.


Artist's Resale Rights (“Droit de Suite”)

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Royalty For the portion of the Hammer Price (in Euros)
4.00% up to 50,000
3.00% between 50,000.01 and 200,000
1.00% between 200,000.01 and 350,000
0.50% between 350,000.01 and 500,000
0.25% in excess of 500,000

Invoices will, as usual, be issued in Pounds Sterling. For the purposes of calculating the resale royalty the Pounds Sterling/ Euro rate of exchange will be the European Central Bank reference rate on the day of the sale.