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The Work of a Master:18th-Century Pedestal Desk by Thomas Chippendale

August 23rd, 2013 | posted by Bill Rau
This incredibly rare pedestal desk bears numerous characteristics that suggest its creation by Thomas Chippendale himself.

This incredibly rare pedestal desk bears numerous characteristics that suggest its creation by Thomas Chippendale himself.

Finding an 18th-century furnishing that can be attributed to Thomas Chippendale is like finding the “holy grail” of antique furniture. This George III Mahogany Twin Pedestal Desk is just such a treasure.

Locking mechanisms by London metalsmith Elizabeth Gascoigne were another staple of furnishings created specifically by Chippendale.

Locking mechanisms by London metalsmith Elizabeth Gascoigne were another staple of furnishings created specifically by Chippendale.

Every inch of this spectacular desk bears qualities synonymous with Chippendale’s signature craftsmanship. A letter of authenticity by appraiser Gary Fowler notates seven characteristics attributed specifically to the master cabinetmaker. The use of the highest-quality Cuban mahogany, his signature “red wash”, “triple-wheel” friction casters and locking mechanisms by London metalsmith Elizabeth Gascoigne, among others, distinguish this desk as a very rare Chippendale original.

 

Chippendale was primarily a furniture and interior designer, and produced a handful of furnishings in his St. Martin’s Lane workshop. Since so few examples exist, on the rare occasions they do come on the market are met with great excitement. The current record for the most expensive piece of English furniture is held by the Herrington Commode, a bowfront cabinet attributed to Chippendale that sold in 2010 at Sotheby’s London for just under $6-million dollars.  The previous record holder was, not surprisingly, also a Chippendale piece, which had sold in 2008 for approximately $5 million.

 

The impact of Chippendale’s designs on the history of both furniture and the whole of interior design can never be overstated. His Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director was the first interior design text ever published, and it showcased to the world Chippendale’s gift for line, proportion and superior craftsmanship. His designs and theories were so pivotal that he is the only person to have an entire style named after him rather than a monarch.

 

 To view M.S. Rau Antiques’ outstanding selection of antique furniture, click here.

 

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