in two sections, the breakfronted upper section surmounted by an arched cresting above a pair of glazed doors opening to adjustable shelves, flanked by two cabinets to either side each fitted with a glazed door opening to adjustable shelves, the conforming projecting lower section centered by a central frieze drawer opening to reveal a baize-lined panel sliding back to a compartmentalized interior flanked by hinged lidded compartments inlaid with letters of the alphabet before secret compartments, and flanked by two frieze drawers on either side, two of which open to reveal a sliding baize-lined panel, all above cupboard doors opening to adjustable shelves, raised on a molded plinth; the side of one cabinet to the upper section with an inked inscription Clayton (?) / Bentham / 5.
The Lancaster firm of Gillows produced a design in their Sketch Books for a secretaire-bookcase with a 'Tuscan cornice' in March 1784, fitted with the 'new sort of writing drawer' introduced several years earlier, with a baize-lined panel sliding back to reveal six hinged compartments inlaid with four letters of the alphabet and two boxes behind; see Susan Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1840, Woodbridge: Antique Collectors' Club, 2008, vol. 1, pp. 367-369, pls. 434-436. The present library bookcase is very similar in design to this secretaire-bookcase, with an arched (but not inlaid) cornice, identical ogee-arched glazing bars to the doors, the 'new sort of writing drawer' and oval-inlaid panels to the doors of the lower section. Lindsay Boynton, Gillow Furniture Designs 1760-1800, Royston: The Bloomfield Press, 1995, p. 166, illustrates a design from the Sketch Books for a library bookcase dated May 1787, a writing drawer in the center, as with the present bookcase. The oval drop handle with oval patera in the center was much used by Gillow starting about 1786; see Stuart, op. cit., vol. 1, p. 335, pl. D9.
Gillows of Lancaster and London was one of the leading English cabinet making firms of the 18th and 19th centuries. Robert Gillow (1704-1772) founded the firm circa 1730. His eldest son, Richard, became a partner in 1757 and Robert junior, the youngest son moved to London in 1776, where he ran the warehouse and showroom, which had been opened in 1769. Much of the firm's patronage encompassed the Northern and Scottish gentry, including the Duke of Atholl and the Earls of Stafford and Derby. In the second half of the 18th century, Gillows became the first English cabinet-makers to adopt the practice of stamping their furniture.
Please call 1-800-555-5555 to order a print catalog for this sale.
Online Registration to Bid is Closed for this Sale. Would you like to watch the live sale?Watch Live Sale