Early 19th Century American Empire Antique Bookcase and Secretary
Circa 1820-1830, this antique bookcase and secretary features stunning flamed grain, bookmatched mahogany. The flamed grain pattern provides lovely color movement from light to dark within the wood. Bookmatching is a technique used by craftsmen to create a mirrored grain pattern on a piece of furniture. The pattern within a piece of veneer is examined by sliding a mirror to discover a natural point of symmetry. The veneer is then scored at that point to create two pieces that mirror each other. Those pieces are then glued to the base wood of the furniture to create that mirrored design. We see this technique on the face of the antique secretary or desk portion of this piece.
Opening the desk reveals two leather writing surfaces, each hinged to provide storage compartments underneath. The back of interior features a row of cubbies for various documents, as well as a quill tray with a hidden compartment underneath and a space for an inkwell above. The lid and three drawers across the center can be locked all together. The upper antique bookcase area also features working locks, as well as adjustable shelving.
The heavy, clean lines of the American Empire style are evident throughout the piece. Ogee and broad quarter round moldings have been included, as well as an overall generous depth. The delicate demilune hand-carved mullions add an element of fluidity to this substantial piece.