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A Fine Small-scale (36 in. wide) Mahogany Classical Secretary Bookcase, New York, c.1815

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In order to fill the larger rooms of houses that increased in size during the early 19th century, Classical/Empire casepieces came in larger proportions than their antecedents. Therefore, we were quite surprised to find a diminutive secretary, the first in our many years in the field. It's only 36 inches wide. Aside from being delicate, it is crafted in the finest New York style. Note the drawer sides on the close-ups; generally, these are pine or poplar, and here they are the more costly mahogany and with very fine dovetails. Also note the use of the brass door edges; all this is the work of a top New York shop.

Although being small in size, it loses nothing in its development, notice the very intricate and tight design work of the upper glazed doors. Also, the figured flanking pilasters which are intricately carved at the top and the developed cornice molding with inset at the edges. The lower case has a leather lined slide-out writing lid, and above are two pull-out drawers. The paw feet are beautifully and fully carved. The figured mahogany within the door panels below is beautifully matched.

This is a piece for the true connoisseur of classical furniture of the first rank. It would certainly be fitting in a New York pied-à-terre where size and quality are prized.

Height: 79 1/2 in. Case Width: 36 1/2 in. Overall Width: 42 in. Depth: 23 in.
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