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An Important Classical Secretary Bookcase, New York, c.1822-1824, Labeled Edward Holmes


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This is a magnificent and stately classical secretary which relates to a small grouping of elite cabinetmakers located in what is now downtown Manhattan.  Here Edward Holmes formed a partnership with Simeon Haines in 1825 and was a competitor of Michael Allison, Deming & Buckley, and Joseph Meeks & Sons, all working at that time.  These were the makers of the best for the best, and at this time, New York City was comparatively very rich, with the city’s recent urbanization and rapid transformation.

Interestingly, this secretary has a blocked pediment, which is a holdover from earlier forms.   At this time, tops of casepieces were generally flat, and here Holmes retains just a small pedimented design to this piece.   Note the scale of the blocks supported by the columns; these are quite the find, and all of the original stencil work is preserved. 

The paw feet are beautifully carved and give this piece a nice lift and an overall appearance of not being overbearing.  This secretary is one of the best of its period, and its being a labeled piece makes it a true treasure. 

Height: 98 in.  Width: 42 in.  Depth: 23 1/2 in.
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