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  • Fine George III Mahogany Tall Chest with Secretary Desk c. 1780
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Fine George III Mahogany Tall Chest with Secretary Desk c. 1780

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England circa 1780
Item # 808MPP29W 

A very special piece of early English craftsmanship, this tall chest of drawers is executed in the finest selections of densely grained mahogany.  Each plank has been carefully chosen for its pleasing character and smooth horizontal flow.  The case appears on first glance to house eight graduated drawers, but the fourth and fifth drawer facade (from the bottom) are faux and disguise a fall-front secretary desk.  This drops over original brass hinges and is supported with original steel brackets to reveal a green baize writing surface and an orderly interior of four small graduated drawers stacked on either side flanking a pair of broad drawers beneath four document pigeon-holes.  The quality of the crisp hand cut dovetailing in the oak secondary woods allow these tiny drawers to remain in pristine condition.

Notable for the case is its overall slight profile, being relatively thin in depth and not terribly tall - it is a departure from most tall chests, which have a tendency to define a room and require space planning; this chest slinks into the background and barely projects into the space.  The craftsman designed the piece to be tidy and orderly, free of excessive embellishment other than the greek-key molding beneath the slender projecting crown of the chest.

For the classical interior this is an unusual and quite excellent acquisition.  Pure and remaining in exquisite condition, it is an absolute strikepoint piece that defines a space without dominating.

Measurements:  37 W x 20 1/2 D x 63 H, writing surface is 32 3/4 W x 19 1/4 D and is 31 3/8 H from the ground to the dropped lid

Condition Report:
Beautifully refinished in the last century or so with age/use indicators as expected: minor surface flaws, chips, finish wear to feet, etc.  Minor restorations including small patches to corners of drawers, repairs to feet (remaining mostly original with some patching, note splice along bottom of front feet).  Strip of oak added to backboards, otherwise entirely original backboards.  Retains one working key, originality of lock and key unknown.  Brasses are of the period but originality is unknown (inside of drawers covered with a high quality drawer liner that we have not removed).