A BIEDERMEIER PARCEL-GILT MAHOGANY SECRÉTAIRE À ABATTANT

CIRCA 1820, POSSIBLY THURINGEN

Details
A BIEDERMEIER PARCEL-GILT MAHOGANY SECRÉTAIRE À ABATTANT
CIRCA 1820, POSSIBLY THURINGEN
The outscrolled superstructure enclosing cabinet doors above a drawer and a fall-front enclosing an architectural interior with mirrored back and spring-loaded drawer in the form of steps, the sides with penwork decoration above two shaped drawers flanked by winged sphinxes on a rectangular plinth on lion paw feet
75½in. (192cm.) high, 50¼in. (127.5cm.) wide, 20¾in. (52.5cm.) deep

Lot Essay

This spectacular secrétaire belongs to a distinct group of pieces sharing the characteristics of severely architectural form with exaggerated volutes all executed in the 1820's in Thüringen, an area near Weimar. Several fine cabinetmakers are known to have produced nearly identical pieces in scale, form and proportion including Hans Brandt (1822) and Ludwig Beissman (1829) examples of which are illustrated in G. Himmelheber, Biedermeier Furniture, 1974, pls. 101 and 102.

The exaggerated lyre-form is borrowed from earlier Viennese prototypes. German secrétaires such as the offered lot were probably made as specific commissions for one of the residential castles near Weimar. The existence of a number of examples of this distinctive design may dindicate that the model may have been created as a Meister stück or masterpiece by the local furniture guild for local cabinet makers to copy as a form of examination of their skills. The particularly fine construction details, the rabeted panels of the back, the unusual use of pegged construction and the employment throughout of highly polished fruitwood for the drawer linings point to a particularly lavish demonstration of the cabinet maker's talents (for a further discussion of the Meisterstück see G. Himmelheber, Louis XVI and Biedermeier, F.H.S.J, 1991, pp. 113-129).
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