Antique Bookcases - A Guide

Relevant categories: Bookcases,Cabinets and Chests


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Antique Bookcases Canonbury Antiques


At Canonbury Antiques we carry a range of antique bookcases in mahogany, satinwood and walnut. A lovely hand crafted English bookcase can be the central focus to any room and can be a very practical piece with all the storage space they offer. We carry a range of styles of bookcase,  including open front bookcases, breakfront bookcases, secretaire bookcases in various styles and woods - including art deco bookcases, Sheraton, Regency and Victorian bookcases.


Open Front Bookcases


Low Open Front Bookcases


The open front bookcase has to be one of the most practical pieces of furniture there is and look good in any room. Many of these antique bookcases are on display in our Hertfordshire antiques showroom. This piece of furniture does what it says on the tin - it's open at the front for easy access to all your books. In the days of the landed gentry who liked to house large libraries in their country piles, the bookcases would line the walls. These open front bookcases would have derived from that purpose but are of course not as wide and smaller and hence better suited for modern living. Of course you don't need to use these bookcases for books - with the adjustable height shelving system you can display decorative pieces - vases, bronze statues, trophies etc - alongside those meaty tomes.


Pair Sheraton Open front bookcases

Open Front - With Adjustable Shelving

The shelving system is very easy to use - you can adjust each shelf height to accommodate the size of book via the slat system the side. Our open front bookcases come in many styles and woods. Our most popular ones are our Sheraton style bookcase - these have a Regency look so the design is very clean and minimal hence making them great for contemporary interiors. They als have intricate and understanted marquetry inlay with Sheraton motifs such as garlands, festoons and cross banding. The Sheraton bookcases come in walnut, mahogany or satinwood to match your existing interior and pieces of furniture.

Hand Crafted In England

Our antique open front bookcases are made in England to centuries old traditions hence they are incredibly well crafted and will last for many generations making them a great heirloom and investment. Of course we can also match up these bookcase to other pieces of furniture, for instance if you are looking for a complete dining suite we could match up the bookcase to a sideboard, dining table and chairs. In fact antique dining sets are one of our specialities so please get in touch if you would like us to outfit a whole room or library.


Breakfront Bookcases


Mahogany breakfront bookcase


Breakfront bookcases are larger bookcase typically with a glass fronted top. Breakfront refers to the protruding central section which sticks out and gives it a nice aesthetic as well as extra space for further book storage and is one of our most popular antique bookcases. The top half will come apart from the bottom section hence making it easier to move around and transport.

The top section will be glass fronted like a cabinet with adjustable shelving so you can display larger decorative pieces alongside your books. The bottom section will feature doors and further cabinet storage section. Some of our bigger breakfront bookcases can be 7 - 8 feet tall and 12 feet wide and wouldn't look out of place in the library of an English stately home.


Walnut Regency Breakfront Bookcase Open Sheraton

(Above: Walnut Regency Breakfront Bookcase Open Sheraton - one of our favourites )


Our favourite breakfront bookcase has to be the Regency Sheraton version which features intricate marquetry inlay and clean design lines typical of the Regency era, hence making it great for contemporary interiors. Our open front breakfront bookcases are very practical and hence popular. We also carry a breakfront bookcase in satinwood with Sheraton hand painted motifs.

Secretaire Bookcase


Antique Napoleon III Inlaid Secretaire Desk


A secretaire bookase is a very useful and practical piece of furniture as it combines a desk and bookcase. We have a wonderful Victorian style version in mahogany. The middle section opens out to reveal a desk area with a pull down writing surface with cubby holes and desk storage space.


Bookcase Accessories

We carry various matching pieces to accompany your bookcase including library steps and metamorphic chairs (which turn into library steps) and work really well with our range of antique bookcases:


Victorian Library Ladder Step Ladders Walnut Stair-

Metamorphic Chair Library Steps


Metamorphic Chair


The metamorphic chair library steps has to be one of the most ingeneous products known to man - a chair that converts into a set of library steps. These were originally designed for the English aristocracy and European nobility as a great space saving device for their owners who had libraries. They are also extremely practical - and fun - for contemporary living.


Other Styles of Bookcase

Our main range of bookcases  are in the classic English style - but we do also carry art deco bookcases and from time to time French bookcases. Art deco bookcases are great for contemporary interiors as the design is clean and minimal.


Custom Made Bookcases?

Satinwood Regency Breakfront Bookcase Sheraton Furniture

Of course we can work with our clients to make custom bookcases - whatever size you want. Maybe for your English Stately home or French Chateau? We have worked with London interior designers on custom briefs to custom  furnish corporate boardrooms and gentlemen's clubs who require the refined elegance our style of furniture can provide.

How big do you want your bookcase? How big is your imagination. Come and see these antique bookcases in our Canonbury Antiques Hertfordshire showroom just 25 minutes north of London.


Please enjoy some videos of our bookcases from the Canonbury Antiques YouTube channel:








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