Antique desks and bureaux
There used to be a wide variety of both desks and bureaux available, and whilst we would always want to have a large selection to show, this is not sometimes the case any more. We normally show writing tables in this section along with pedestal desks, partners desks, kneehole desks, architect's desks and tambour tables. Very similar criteria apply for bureaux, and cover the widest range from oak and mahogany to walnut, satinwood and rosewood. Legs can be cabriole, square tapered, square chamfered, turned, reeded or carved.
Fabulous William and Mary Period Oyster Kingwood Parquetry Inlaid Escritoire
The most remarkable William and Mary period Oyster Kingwood Parquetry Inlaid Fall Front Escritoire attributed to Thomas Pistor.
The top of this piece has a shaped moulding above a flat moulded section and a cavetto moulding, leading to the convex frieze. (It will be noted that the grain runs through all of these mouldings.) The frieze also conceals a Bible or Plan drawer, above a cross banded and geometrically Oyster veneered Fall, which opens to reveal three sections of pigeon holes - all of which can be removed disclosing secret compartments - above a central door; the inlay of which conforms to the outside of the Fall and which opens to reveal four more drawers, and is surrounded with a further arrangement of small drawers. The Fall is fitted with a leather writing panel. The base has two half width and two full width graduated drawers, and the whole is raised on flat bun feet.
The sides are also exquisitely inlaid with geometric Oysters and cross banded to match the front.
The Escritoire is a piece of furniture inspired by continental examples during the Carolean period and early examples are usually to be found in oak. By the William and Mary period the finest pieces were executed in Burr Walnut. This example, being in Kingwood and so perfectly executed with the Oyster veneered Parquetry roundels and interspersed hearts could only have been made for one of the finest families in the country - possibly even for royalty. Kingwood was an exceptionally rare wood during this period, and to find an entire large cabinet veneered on both the outside and the inside in Kingwood Oysters of such quality makes it indeed one of the rarest and finest examples on record. The Escritoire as a piece of furniture would have been used for keeping valuables in and with the fall front open, acted in place of an Antique Desk in the middle of a room.
This exceptional piece is one from a family of cabinets all made by Thomas Pistor, who worked in London from about 1668 to 1706. We have been fortunate enough to have owned three of these pieces in the last 60 years. This is illustrated in Dr. Adam Bowett's book "English Furniture, 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne " illus. 7.30, page 209. Bowett comments in his book that as Kingwood (Princeswood) was the most expensive and rarest exotic veneer available at the time, it was only ever used on the very best and most prized items.. The attribution of these extraordinary pieces is based on an article in Country Life 11th. August 1950, depicting Buxted Park, the home of Sir Basil Ionedes, and showing quite clearly a conforming parquetry inlaid Kingwood Escritoire and commenting that this bears the makers' label for Mr. Thomas Pistor, Ludgate Hill, London.
A major article on Thomas Pistor and his son, also Thomas, was published in the Journal of the Furniture History Society "Furniture History" in 2000, and was researched and written by Adriana Turpin. She rightly states that Pistor's work is on a par with the Royal Cabinetmakers, John Gumley and Gerrit Jensen. and indeed. all three worked for Colonel James Grahme who was a high ranking courtier to James II. See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60.
Lit: "English Furniture, 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne ", Dr. Adam Bowett, illus. 7.30, page 209.
"Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840", Geoffrey Beard & Christopher Gilbert Page 701.
"Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700 - 1840", Christopher Gilbert, Page 44.
"The London Furniture Makers from the Restoration to the Victorian Era 1660-1840", Sir Ambrose Heal. Page 138.
H: 66½" (168 cms) W: 47" (119 cms) D: 21" (53 cms)
Price: £100,000 / US$ 152,000 / € 118,000
The three Kingwood Cabinets shown together
A rare opportunity to see all three of the pieces attributed to Thomas Pistor in one go. Please refer to the individual pieces for the descriptions, prices and measurements and to purchase any or all of them. Which Antique Cabinet would suit your home?
H: 65" (165 cms) W: 40" (101 cms) D: 19½" (49 cms)
Price: 0 / US$ 0 / € 0
Kingwood Kneehole Desk by Pistor
No: 399 O
No: 399 0
A superb and extremely rare William and Mary Period Oyster Veneered Kingwood Kneehole Desk by Thomas Pistor of Ludgate Hill in London, the rectangular folding top with geometrically inlaid patterns of roundels and corner spandrels within crossbanded borders, and opening to reveal a fitted interior of five small drawers and a central space all above the kneehole with its conformingly inlaid door flanked by four further drawers to each side and raised on bun feet, the sides similarly inlaid and crossbanded. Ca. 1690
This exceptional piece is one from a family of cabinets all made by Thomas Pistor, who worked in London from about 1668 to 1706. We have been fortunate enough to have owned four of these pieces in the last 60 years. The first is that illustrated in Dr. Adam Bowett's book "English Furniture, 1660 - 1714 From Charles II to Queen Anne " illus. 7.30, page 209. Bowett comments in his book that as Kingwood ( Princeswood) was the most expensive and rarest exotic veneer available at the time, it was only ever used on the very best and most prized items. The piece shown is an escritoire and the second piece we acquired shortly after the first example was indeed a cabinet on chest, again by the same maker using the same patterns as the escritoire. There followed another Cabinet on Chest made to the same patterns and where the inscribed patterns on the inside of the backboards on the escritoire exactly match the geometric patterns on the doors of this Cabinet. The final piece of the jigsaw is this wonderful Kneehole Desk which again exactly matches the patterns of the other examples. The attribution of these extraordinary pieces is based on an article in Country Life 11th. August 1950, depicting Buxted Park, the home of Sir Basil Ionedes, and showing quite clearly a conforming parquetry inlaid Kingwood Escritoire and commenting that this bears the makers' label for Mr. Thomas Pistor, Ludgate Hill, London
A major article on Thomas Pistor and his son, also Thomas, was published in the Journal of the Furniture History Society "Furniture History" in 2000, and was researched and written by Adriana Turpin. She rightly states that Pistor's work is on a par with the Royal Cabinetmakers, John Gumley and Gerrit Jensen. and indeed. all three worked for Colonel James Grahme who was a high ranking courtier to James II. Sadly, we cannot trace for whom these pieces were made but the possibility exists of a Royal or near Royal provenance. See FHS Journal 2000, pp 43 to 60.
H: 33" (83 cms) W: 42" (106 cms) D: 25½" (64 cms)
Price: £50,000 / US$ 76,000 / € 59,000
Queen Anne Burr Walnut Bureau Bookcase
A superb Queen Anne period Burr Walnut Bureau Cabinet having a stepped, concave cornice above the two doors the top retaining the original bevelled mirror plates and fitted with adjustable shelves above a row of conforming drawers, the base with a particularly well fitted stepped concave interior to the bureau with a reading stand to the well, the whole feather banded throughout and raised on bracket feet.
H: 83½" (212 cms) W: 40½" (102 cms) D: 24" (60 cms)
Price: £45,000 / US$ 68,400 / € 53,100
George II Walnut Bureau
A good early 18th. century figured Walnut Bureau, the fall opening to reveal a central door flanked by small drawers and pigeon holes above two half width and three full width graduated drawers, the whole raised on bracket feet. A very useful alternative to room centre Antique Desks. Restorations to some veneers and handles replaced.
H: 39½" (100 cms) W: 36" (91 cms) D: 21" (53 cms)
Price: £3,750 / US$ 5,700 / € 4,425
Early 18th. Century Oak and Inlaid Bureau
A rare early 18th. Century Oak Bureau crossbanded in chevron bandings of Holly and Bog Oak, the rectangular fall opening to reveal a fitted interior of small drawers and pigeon holes around a central door with further removable drawers section and secret compartments behind and a sliding well all above three false drawers, two short and three full width graduated drawers, the whole raised on shaped bracket feet and retaining the original handles and backplates throughout.
Literature: This Bureau is illustrated and described in "English Country Furniture" by David Knell, Page 64, Plates 25 & 25A, Published 2000 by the Antique Collectors Club. He states that this inlay is typical of pieces from Cheshire.
The double moulding running around the carcass and top is typical of pieces made before about 1720 though the pierced backplates are more of a mid 18th. century model though the internal Axe-drop knobs are also usual on earlier pieces. This all suggests a provincial workshops using a mixture of "modern" handles on the outside whilst using earlier "stock" knobs for the interior.
H: 40½" (102 cms) W: 35" (88 cms) D: 21" (53 cms)
Price: £4,250 / US$ 6,460 / € 5,015
George III Mahogany Gentleman's Secretaire Press
A superb early George III period Mahogany Secretaire Gentleman's Press with shaped cornice above a dentil frieze cavetto and fluted frieze with serpentine detail. The upper part with two panelled doors opening to reveal five sliding trays, the base with a fitted drawer containing twelve satinwood and tulipwood cross-banded small drawers above three further full width graduated drawers, the whole raised on sculpted trefoil shaped bracket feet.
Note: The serpentine detail on the cornice combined with the exquisitely panelled back, the shaping of the feet at the back and the dustboards between the drawers all point to a cabinet maker of exceptional ability. The s-shaped keyhole escutcheons are always associated with the work of Thomas Chippendale and would suggest his authorship of this piece too.
During the 18th. century not every room had space for Antique Desks taking up the centre of the room so pieces like this Antique Cabinet or Gentleman's Press as they were known were made with a secretaire drawer for writing at.
H: 85½" (217 cms) W: 52½" (133 cms) D: 22½" (57 cms)
Price: £20,000 / US$ 30,400 / € 23,600
Regency Ebony and Brass Inlaid Desk Piece
A very good Regency period Ebony and Brass Inlaid Desk Piece with the original ink bottles, stoppers, taper holder and flame snuffer. This a fine example of English "Buhl" work which copies the French models from earlier. This would certainly grace the very finest of Regency Antique Desks.
H: 5" (12 cms) W: 15" (38 cms) D: 9" (22 cms)
Price: £1,750 / US$ 2,660 / € 2,065
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Mahogany Pedestal Desk
A very useful mid 19th. century Mahogany Pedestal Desk in one piece, the rectangular top lined in gilt tooled burgundy coloured hide above three frieze drawers, the kneehole flanked by flame figured panelled door cupboards, the whole raised on plinth bases. This is a very useful example of the sorts of Antique Desks made in the middle of the nineteenth century
H: 30" (76 cms) W: 48" (121 cms) D: 22" (55 cms)
Price: £2,500 / US$ 3,800 / € 2,950
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