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Desk, English, unknown maker, early nineteenth century
Mahogany with brass fittings and numbered ivory discs
Museum number: XF187
With kneehole and five drawers each side of solid mahogany, all of equal depth, the five to the left numbered in ascending order on inset ivory discs 24-28 and the five to the right in ascending order 135-131; all the drawers with inset brass ring-pull handles fitting into inset back-plates; the left-hand drawers with no keyholes or locks although the bottom drawer 124 has a cut-out for a lock (missing); the right-hand drawers with later brass diamond-shaped surface mounted keyhole escutcheons to the right of the handles (these are not of the type used elsewhere on Soane’s furniture but are squatter, the four sides being of equal length) and unmarked over-sized later locks; the drawers are fitted internally with sliding mahogany lids or part lids, some notched for lifting out and some cut to fit round locks; the solid desk top with moulded front edge and projecting central section with curved ends over the kneehole; above the knee-hole one deep drawer, missing its ivory inset numbered disc, with two brass bail handles on oval back-plates; this drawer with a mahogany front on an oak carcase and original Soane period lock stamped with a crown above GR and PATENT STEVENS; below this drawer, and blocking the upper part of the kneehole, is a shallow drawer with a single brass bail handle on oval back-plates and an inset brass ivory disc numbered ‘130’; this drawer has no keyhole or lock; the desk is built-in asymmetrically beneath the window; there are reeded mouldings between the left-hand drawers and up the left-hand edge of the kneehole but there is no moulding between the left-hand drawers and the wall; the right-hand drawers have no reeded mouldings but have a plain plinth at the base and scratch mouldings to the vertical strip at the right-hand side; the bookcase XF384 is built-in alongside this desk to the right.
J. Soane Description of the Residence of John Soane, Architect, London, 1830, p.18; 1835, p. 11
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