A Pair of Anglo-Chinese Padouk Secretaire Cabinets
A Pair of Anglo-Chinese Padouk Secretaire Cabinets
A Pair of Anglo-Chinese Padouk Secretaire Cabinets

A Pair of Anglo-Chinese Padouk Secretaire Cabinets

c. 1770 China

Offered by Mackinnon - Fine Furniture

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An extremely rare pair of Anglo-Chinese solid padouk secretaire cabinets. Each with a moulded cornice above a pair of paneled doors with radiused upper corners and leaf-carved moulded borders, the interiors of the upper sections with bookshelves above pairs of drawers, the fall front writing flat revealing pigeonholes and small drawers, standing on a base with four long graduated drawers terminating on shaped bracket feet. The cabinets retain the original paktong handles.

The survival of this pair of Anglo-Chinese secretaire cabinets from the eighteenth century is very unusual as only a few Anglo-Chinese furniture pieces made in Canton for British patrons survive today. Each of these pieces reflect a form inspired by an English prototype, but constructed in an entirely Chinese fashion. The presence of a pair of cabinets is particularly unusual.

These cabinets reflect the rare combination of English design with Chinese construction methods executed in locally sourced timbers. The overall form of these secretaire cabinets bear similarity to English designs as seen in publications such as Thomas Chippendale’s The Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director (3rd ed., 1763, pls. XVII and CXXIX). However, the cabinets differ in their construction, particularly in the use of the solid timber rather than veneers. The timber itself, padouk, is a wood native to Asia. The handles and escutcheons are made of paktong, which is an alloy composed of copper, nickel, and zinc, which was a uniquely Chinese product until the 19th century.
Height 188.00 cm (74.02 inches)
Width 108.00 cm (42.52 inches)
Depth 55.00 cm (21.65 inches)
Stock Code
Mackinnon - Fine Furniture

Mackinnon - Fine Furniture
5 Ryder Street
St James's

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