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A LATE GEORGE III MAHOGANY HARLEQUIN PEDESTAL DESK
THE PROPERTY OF A MIDWEST COLLECTOR (LOTS 226-230)
A LATE GEORGE III MAHOGANY HARLEQUIN PEDESTAL DESK

ATTIRBUTED TO SEDDON, SONS AND SHACKLETON, CIRCA 1800

Details
A LATE GEORGE III MAHOGANY HARLEQUIN PEDESTAL DESK ATTIRBUTED TO SEDDON, SONS AND SHACKLETON, CIRCA 1800 The paneled rising rectangular top fitted with drawers and pigeonholes surrounding a prospect door behind a hinged, slanted leather-lined writing-surface flanked by two out-folding hinged cupboards above a central kneehole with curved recess and flanked by engaged Ionic columns and two banks consisting of a simulated drawer fitted with a crank hole and three graduated drawers, the paneled sides fitted with brass bail carrying-handles, on a conforming plinth, the drawer handles replaced, the base with chalk inscription '5727' 34½ in. (87.5 cm.) high with the superstructure down, 47½ in. (120 cm.) high with the superstructure up, 58¼in. (148 cm.) wide, 37 in. (94 cm.) deep
Provenance
Anonymous sale; Christie's, New York, 19 October 2000, lot 152.

Lot Essay

The patent for the mechanism operating this desk ('Entire New Weights, Bolts and Springs' to operate 'all kinds of Writing and Reading Desks, Tables etc.') was originally granted to Day Gunby in 1798 and Gunby's patent specification drawings (no. 2248) include a comparable kneehole desk. George Seddon took up the rights to this patent the same year. Other desks of this form by the firm of Seddon bear a brass plate engraved 'PATENT SEDDON' with a number indicating the manufacturing sequence (not the model). These include an example sold Christie's New York, 21-22 April 1995, lot 305; another sold Phillips, London, 13 February 1990, lot 70 (both reproduced in C. Gilbert, Pictorial Dictionary of Marked London Furniture 1700-1840, Leeds, 1996, pp. 406-407, figs. 805-808) and a third example sold Christie's New York, 17 October 1981, lot 159. A further unsigned example was sold in these Rooms, 11 October 1990, lot 108.

The firm of Seddon at Aldersgate Street, London, was the largest furniture-making firm at the end of the eighteenth century, although few pieces are labelled or documented. The firm was established by George Seddon (d.1804) in about 1750. He was joined by his sons in 1785 and his son-in-law Thomas Shackleton in 1790-95. George Seddon II joined into partnership with Nicholas Morel in 1827 working largely for the Royal family (G. Beard and C. Gilbert, eds., Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, pp. 793-798).

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