18TH CENTURY ANTIQUE MASSACHUSETTS CHIPPENDALE MAHOGANY SHELL CARVED KNEEHOLE DESK / BUREAU WITH CARVED BALL & CLAW FEET
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With our highest compliments and utmost honors, Bay Colony Antiques is extreme proud to offer for sale this exceptional 18th century antique Chippendale Mahogany shell carved kneehole desk. We are always in the market for these and most of the time have them sold before we even find them, but this desk is unspoken for and an absolute gem. The desk is crafted from old growth Caribbean Mahogany with a vibrant grain pattern and nice natural luster from the oil density of the wood. Aside from being a beautiful, imported wood that could be used to showcase your wealth, Mahogany is one of the most durable woods for cabinet making. The wood is extremely strong for its density and is resistant to atmospheric moisture and resistant to rotting & insect damage. The desk possesses finely formed block fronts drawers with molded faces and they all retain their original brass pulls. The desk has an elongated upper drawer and 7 below for a total of 8 drawers. The desk has 6 masterfully carved ball and claw legs with shell carvings at the knees and a full bodied shell carving on the center door. We found some old pencil script written on a drawer but were having some trouble reading it. We’re only allowed to upload 12 pictures but if there are any additional photos you may require please feel free to send us a message. The desk has an overhung top that mirrors the form of the case, and the top and base molding enhance the congruity of the design.
Chippendale kneehole desks are extremely desirable with only a handful surfacing each year. We’ve seen a few sell recently all between 10-30 thousand dollars but none that we’ve liked as much as this one. One of the other desks had a weak block front and another was riddled with repairs but most collectors are willing to overlook a few repairs after 200+ years. This desk has been meticulously cared for and is without a doubt one of the cleanest surviving examples with our only notes being an old refinishing & minimal surface wear. This Massachusetts form is one of the most desirable knee hole desks and examples can be found as early as ~1750 and are still being created today. We’ve seen Victorian reproductions that you would swear are 18th century and even the early 20th century work can look almost identical when all the work is done in the period manner to the same exact standards. Because of this, we’ve seen people (and museums) over-invest in great 20th century copies & on the flip side, let a tremendous deal on an 18th century piece pass them by. We call these kneehole desks but they were really used as more of a bureau or dressing table. The bottom storage compartments were traditionally used for powdered wigs but are spacious enough for a multitude of uses today. The desk measures 38 1/2” wide x 23” deep x 32 3/4” tall.