Description: the gilt surface decorated overall with strap-work and foliage patterns, the sides and two doors with bevelled mirror plates, the interior side of the doors in walnut opening to reveal a fitted interior with pigeonholes below central arched door surrounded by small drawers all yew veneered below opening for shelves, the upper section out-facing uprights rosewood veneered, the fall front desk with fitted interior with pigeonholes and drawers also yew veneered, lower section with two short and three long drawers, the sides with carrying handles, all raised on boldly carved paw feet; the mirror plates later and fifteen of the desk drawers re-veneered.
Dimensions: 238cm. high, 120cm. wide, 60cm. deep, 7ft. 10in. 3ft. 11in., 2ft.
Condition Report: This extraordinary bureau is in an overall good restored condition and can be placed as is. The hardware is original in part: it has original side handles and engraved lock plate to the fall front, original engraved hinges and the key escutcheons are also possibly all original. The door lock is a replacement as well as all the drawer handles. The cabinet has been restored sometime in the 20th century, when the gilding and gesso has been stabilized and refreshed; it still keeps its deep carving and the expected wear showing the red bole and gesso underneath, producing an attractive gold colour surface. The feet are original but have been repaired. Fifteen drawers of the desk fittings are possible replacements and definitely re-veneered to match the original yew veneers. Repairs to back board and top and there is a mark of a former divider on the top of the fittings which makes us believe that the removable shelf might be of a later date. The central door of the upper section interior has two shrinking cracks and was formerly with a lock plate; the desk has now a modern tooled brown velvet surface; some small losses to veneers and gilding consistent with use and age. Replaced bevelled mirror plates. An impressive piece and rare survivor.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."
Saleroom Notice: US regulations contain restrictions and prohibitions on the import of certain items which are designed to protect wildlife conservation. Sotheby's will not assist buyers with the shipment of this lot into the US.
Synge, Lanto, Great English Furniture
, London, 1991, p.52.
‘Noticia verdadeira do ornato, que se vio nas cazas de Madre Soror Paula Maria’. Biblioteca Nacional de Lisboa, manuscript - BNL, F.4640 - published in Guimarães, J. Ribeiro, Summario de Varia Historia, 1872, pp. 67-70;
Dias, Carlos Malheiro, Cartas de Lisboa. Primeira Serie (1904), Lisboa, Livraria Classica Editora, 1905, p.109;
Proença, José António, Mobiliário da Casa-Museu Dr. Anastácio Gonçalves. 2002, p.183;
Symonds, R. W. 'A Royal Scrutoire', Connoisseur, June 1940, pp. 233-236;
Symonds, R. W., ‘English Gesso Furniture’, The Antique Collector, Vol. XXVII, August 1956, p. 140;
‘A Golden Cabinet’, Mallett Spring Catalogue. London: Mallett & Son Antiques, 2003, pp. 6-13;
Murdoch, Tessa, ‘The king’s cabinet-maker: the giltwood furniture of James Moore the Elder’, Burlington Magazine, vol. CXLV, 2003, ill. 8, p. 410.
Provenance: Mr Alexandre Fernandes, sold Sotheby`s London, 3rd June 1977, lot 93;
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With Mallett & Son (Antiques) Ltd, London;
Private Collection, London, purchased at The Grosvenor House Antiques Fair from the above, London, 15th June 1978