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Enquiry from Online Galleries regarding "Antique Biedermeier Mahogany Cylinder Bureau c.1840"
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Look at what I found on the Online Galleries website!
It has an architectural upper section with a pediment decorated with classical maidens. A pair of decorative steps lead up to a pair of mirrored cabinet doors each opening to reveal a pair of inlaid drawers, each flanked by a pair of alabaster columns, and each column surmounted with ormolu capitelli.
The pair of doors flank a large recess that has an elegant parquetry floor, and this recess was made especially to display prized possesions that were purchased during the Grand Tour.
The revolving cylinder fall opens to reveal an arrangement of small drawers, pigeon holes and a few secret compartments and a slide with a gold tooled green leather writing surface.
There are three capacious full width drawers and the desk sits on block feet, typical of the Biedermeier period.
By family descent from Alexander Marshall Mackenzie(1848-1933). Mackenzie was a Scottish architect responsible for prestigious projects including the Isle of Man Banking Company in Douglas, Australia House and the Waldorf Hotel in London. He received royal patronage with the design of Crathie Kirk (1893) and was subsequently chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Fife (the Prince of Wales's daughter Princess Louise) for the new Mar Lodge (1895)
It is a lovely piece which is also interesting from the historical point of view.
In excellent condition having been beautifully restored in our workshops, please see photos for confirmation.
Dimensions in cm:
Height 190 x Width 120 x Depth 65
Dimensions in inches:
Height 74.8 x Width 47.2 x Depth 25.6
Biedermeier period refers to an era in Central Europe during which arts appealed to common sensibilities in the historical period between 1815, the year of the Congress of Vienna at the end of the Napoleonic Wars, and 1848, the year of the European revolutions.
Although the term itself is a historical reference, it is predominantly used to denote the artistic styles that flourished in the fields of literature, music, the visual arts and interior design.
Biedermeier was an influential style of furniture design from Germany during the years 1815–1848, based on utilitarian principles. The period extended into Frnace, Austria and Scandinavia.
Throughout the period, emphasis was kept upon clean lines and minimal ornamentation. As the period progressed, however, the style moved from the early rebellion against Romantic-era fussiness to increasingly ornate commissions by a rising middle class, eager to show their newfound wealth.
The idea of clean lines and utilitarian postures would resurface in the 20th century, continuing into the present day. The Biedermeier style was a simplified interpretation of the influential French Empire Style of Napoleon I, which introduced the romance of ancient Roman Empire styles, adapting these to modern early 19th century households. Biedermeier furniture used locally available materials such as cherry, ash and oak woods rather than the expensive timbers such as fully imported mahogany.
Biedermeier furniture and lifestyle was a focus on exhibitions at the Vienna applied arts museum in 1896. The many visitors to this exhibition were so influenced by this fantasy style and its elegance that a new resurgence or revival period became popular amongst European cabinetmakers.
This revival period lasted up until the Art Deco style was taken up. Biedermeier also influenced the various Bauhaus styles through their truth in material philosophy.
Thomas Sheraton - 18th century furniture designer, once characterized mahogany as "best suited to furniture where strength is demanded as well as a wood that works up easily, has a beautiful figure and polishes so well that it is an ornament to any room in which it may be placed." Matching his words to his work, Sheraton designed much mahogany furniture. The qualities that impressed Sheraton are particularly evident in a distinctive pattern of wood called "flame mahogany."
The flame figure in the wood is revealed by slicing through the face of the branch at the point where it joins another element of the tree.
The Grand Tour was the traditional trip of Europe undertaken by mainly upper-class European young men of means. The custom flourished from about 1660 until the advent of large-scale rail transit in the 1840s, and was associated with a standard itinerary. It served as an educational rite of passage. Though primarily associated with the British nobility and wealthy landed gentry, similar trips were made by wealthy young men of Protestant Northern European nations on the Continent, and from the second half of the 18th century some South American, U.S., and other overseas youth joined in. The tradition was extended to include more of the middle class after rail and steamship travel made the journey less of a burden, and Thomas Cook made the "Cook's Tour" a byword.
The primary value of the Grand Tour, it was believed, lay in the exposure both to the cultural legacy of classical antiquity and the Renaissance, and to the aristocratic and fashionably polite society of the European continent. In addition, it provided the only opportunity to view specific works of art, and possibly the only chance to hear certain music. A grand tour could last from several months to several years. It was commonly undertaken in the company of a Cicerone, a knowledgeable guide or tutor
Ormolu (from French 'or moulu', signifying ground or pounded gold) is an 18th-century English term for applying finely ground, high-carat gold in a mercury amalgam to an object of bronze.The mercury is driven off in a kiln leaving behind a gold-coloured veneer known as 'gilt bronze'.
The manufacture of true ormolu employs a process known as mercury-gilding or fire-gilding, in which a solution of nitrate of mercury is applied to a piece of copper, brass, or bronze, followed by the application of an amalgam of gold and mercury. The item was then exposed to extreme heat until the mercury burned off and the gold remained, adhered to the metal object.
No true ormolu was produced in France after around 1830 because legislation had outlawed the use of mercury. Therefore, other techniques were used instead but nothing surpasses the original mercury-firing ormolu method for sheer beauty and richness of colour. Electroplating is the most common modern technique. Ormolu techniques are essentially the same as those used on silver, to produce silver-gilt (also known as vermeil).
318 Green Lanes