Property of a Lady
A GEORGE III MAHOGANY SECRETAIRE PRESS CUPBOARD, CIRCA 1790, ATTRIBUTED TO GILLOWS
the upper section with cupboard doors enclosing four clothes slides, above a secretaire drawer with an arrangement of short drawers and pigeon holes around a central removable rosewood veneered 'sliding prospect' cupboard with four concealed drawers to the reverse, the lower section with two short drawers above two long drawers, one long drawer to secretaire with pencil inscription 'Gen. l Norris'
211cm. high, 128cm. wide, 63.5cm. deep; 6ft. 11in., 4ft. 2½in., 2ft. 1in.
In overall reasonable condition. Loss to varnish on right panelled door as visible in catalogue image, which could benefit from further attention. Dentil moulding to the right handside with small losses to teeth and small fragmentations to corners. With later Suede lining to secretaire. Small age split to left handside and larger split to lower left. Front left leg with repaired break. Left waist moulding to lower section with losses. Generally with old marks, scratches consistent with age and use. Colour little faded throughout but consistent across the piece. Has all the hallmarks of Gillows quality.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Sotheby’s London, Important English Furniture, 9 July 1999, lot 85 (£25,000 with premium)
The present secretaire relates closely to a design by Gillows dated 25 March 1788, which incorporates the identical fitted interior to the writing drawer. The pencilled inscription to the secretaire drawer is of a type commonly found on furniture by Gillows and almost certainly gives the identity of the original owner. For similar examples, see those illustrated in Susan Stuart, Gillows of Lancaster and London 1730-1740, Volume II, China, 2008, pp. 55-56 & 65, pls. 599-600 & 610.