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19th C Antique Classical Mahogany Philadelphia Quervelle Butlers Desk / Bookcase

19th C Antique Classical Mahogany Philadelphia Quervelle Butlers Desk / Bookcase

Regular price $3,400.00 USD
Regular price Sale price $3,400.00 USD
Sale Sold out

With our highest compliments and utmost honors, Bay Colony Antiques is extremely proud to offer for sale this fantastic 19th century antique Classical Mahogany butlers desk. The desk was made CA 1820/1830 in Philadelphia and is one of the best examples we’ve had the pleasure of offering in quite some time. The desk was probably made by Anthony Quervelle or Charles White of Philadelphia with similar Quervelle & White examples in the Philadelphia Museum and a similar signed Charles White Butlers desk that was featured by decorative arts trust in a recent video. In the early 19th century Philadelphia was prospering and erected several impressive Classical buildings from celebrated architects like William Strickland, Benjamin Latrobe, Thomas Jefferson, & John Haviland. With the immense popularity of Neo-Classical architecture, a huge demand evolved for classical furniture. Boston, New York, & Philadelphia produced the finest Classical furniture in the country and each city developed their own styles. Anthony Quervelle worked alongside several other successful cabinet makers such as Charles White, Michel Bouvier, Joseph Barry, Thomas Cook, Richard Parkin, and many more. Quervelle & Bouvier were probably the most "trendy" at the time with a lot their own unique designs inspired from existing cabinet makers handbooks. Quervelle & Bouvier were both Frenchmen who brought the elegance & simplicity of the emerging French Empire style that evolved into a superior, uniquely Philadelphia, Greek-Revival style that would live on through the city for centuries. Quervelle's absolute top tier work is easy to identify but there's never much attention paid to the items that are very good but aren't quite at the top of the cabinet makers portfolio. Before Quervelle used paper labels his items were usually just stamped with ink or signed in pencil. There are only about a dozen labeled pieces in existence and we can assure you he made much more furniture than that in his long, successful career as a cabinet maker. The majority of the city was working in this style yet there are a few design features Quervelle favored in his shop, most notably the alternating rope carvings that flank the doors. Most important desks from the area at this time were fitted with Birds Eye Maple interiors simply because that's what was fashionable in the city. These men took over the responsibility of furnishing the homes of Philadelphia's elite, a job once belonging to some of Americas most celebrated cabinet makers like Thomas Affleck & William Savery.

Most Butlers desks don’t have an upper cabinet which makes this a rare exception. The cabinet has a well pronounced crown with book matched crotch Mahogany veneers. The cabinet has fantastic rope carved columns with Corinthian capitals flanking the doors and the doors retain their original wavy glass and their original lock & key. The rope carved columns change direction at the midpoint and the capitals have some nice extra embellishments carved into them. One of our favorite design features of the desk are the recessed mahogany trefoil shaped panels at the top corners of each door. The cabinet has two shelves with mahogany banding on the outward face and the height can be easily adjusted by simply moving the support sticks. The desk has a double paneled fall front Butlers drawer that actuates with ease and has 5 interior drawers with Birds Eye Maple faces & 8 pigeon holes with Birds Eye Maple scroll boards. The desk has paneled crotched Mahogany cabinet doors below flanked by fully formed columns with acanthus carved capitals. We purchased this from a local CT estate where it was cherished for many years. The previous owners, now in their 70’s, inherited this from his father's house where it sat since about 1920. The cabinet has been fully restored to it’s original glory and splendor at a great cost to the previous owner. The maintenance work was done about 20 years ago and was executed extremely well with our only condition notes being a rectangular veneer repair to the right-hand side of the front of the cornice, an old repair to the back right edge, one small hairline crack in one of the glass panes, and an old split where the top is screwed down into the base. The split is completely covered by the upper cabinet and we would strongly recommend against replacing the pane with the small crack. The desk measures 46” wide x 23” deep x 83 1/4” tall. The height at the upper surface is 43” and there is 29” of clearance under the lid when flipped down.


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