Fine American Classical Mahogany Secrétaire à Abattant, 19th century
SUPERB AMERICAN CLASSICAL STYLE MAHOGANY SECRETAIRE A ABATTANT
Probably circa third quarter of the 19th century; lock stamped by Hale & Kilburn Mfg. Co
Item # 702QIC11S
Of simply magnificent quality and craftsmanship, this exquisite secrétaire à abattant is a perfect melding of rich material and precise design. The careful attention to detail is first evident when opening the fall front lid, this heavy plank veneered with vibrant matchbooked mahogany to create a heart-like formation in the center of the fallen surface with opposing rays of light and dark; the piece has such smooth descent and rests with such unwavering stability. Further, this is not the only element bearing the weight of a writing surface, as the red tooled leather writing surface can now be withdrawn by pulling two turned balls, this bringing forth a set of drawers and architecture to match the fitted interior perfectly while also creating the necessary leverage to support writing activies.
The interior is superb. Arched recesses in the upper broad drawer divide the facade into three distinct spaces, the central panel with a bowed prospect door over a single smaller drawer flanked by five drawers on either side; four turned columns raise the upper drawer. The lower cabinet drawers are lined with an old fabric behind a glazed panel, these opening to reveal a single shelf with adjustable height.
The reverse of the case is a gorgeous display of untouched oxidization, nearly black in some areas as the pine has remained unfinished and has aged with oxygen. The tenon mortised structure holds the pine panels set in grooves of the framing. It shows beautiful symmetry and an organized mind in approaching the structure. All four feet remain untouched and original, in fabulous condition. The top is finished with it’s original thick carrara marble slab.
One lock on the lower cabinet door retains a stamp from Hale & Kilburn Manufacturing Co. of Philadelphia; it is probably more likely that they simply manufactured the lock, though they did handle an extensive amount of furniture production during the last quarter of the 19th century and exhibited at the Centennial International Exhibition of 1876 in Philadelphia.
Remaining in exquisite original condition with a very fine surface throughout, boasting the finest display of mahogany veneers with remarkable effect, this is an exceptional secretary desk for the serious collector of the best. It rivals the finest output of France during the same period.
Measurements: 41 1/4” W (marble) x 22 3/4” D (marble) x 54 1/4” H; 38” total depth when desk front is opened; 30 3/8” H from floor to top of writing surface; writing surface is 17 5/8” D x 31 3/4” W
Some veneer patches along rim beneath marble top, small loss of veneer/crack on proper left side of rim; one piece of replaced veneer on proper right side of base. Minor chipping/abrasions/scuffs. Minor patch above keyhole. Retains two working keys. Leather with some scuffs/wear, as expected.