This magnificent Victorian library bookcase is a work of both massive size and monumental beauty. Crafted of Cuban mahogany in the majestic Chippendale Revival style, this dynamic breakfront reaches a width of over 14 feet and a height of over 9 feet, and displays all of the aesthetic hallmarks of Thomas Chippendale's iconic designs.
This bookcase is a model of well-balanced, Chinoiserie design. The large central case is flanked on both sides by four supporting cases, arranged in a staggered placement, which gives this piece a sense of depth and architectural grace. The exceptionally carved decoration is simply without compare, from the open acanthus leaf, opposing C-scroll cresting and pierced fretwork gallery to the five pairs of Gothic arched astragal glazed paneled glass doors and ten scrolled panel moulded doors. As functional as it is beautiful, the bookcase features a writing slide, cleverly concealed within the central drawer. Compartments for pen and ink are neatly set inside next to a leather-lined writing surface, which can be set at an angle and further conceals two secret drawers.
A library bookcase with an almost identical cornice and frieze can be found in The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker's Director, 1761, design no. VCVIII.