Relevant categories: Bookcases
( Above Photo: George II Bureau Bookcase - 18th Century Mahogany )
The Georgian bureau bookcase transcends the entire Georgian period beginning in 1730 when the first design came out. Therefore, it doesn’t have only one design as you would expect. If anything, different designers and furniture makers contributed to the design by adding or removing elements as dictated.
So, what’s the Georgian bureau bookcase? What’s the history behind it? This article discusses how the bureau bookcase came to be and the changes that occurred throughout the Georgian period, making it what it is today! Keep reading for more.
( Above Photo: Georgian Bureau Bookcase Walnut Desk Glazed Top )
On its first release in 1730, the Georgian bureau bookcase had winged sides on an enormous central compartment. This design continued for more than 20 years until Thomas Chippendale came to the scene.
In 1754, Thomas Chippendale released The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Directory for publication, unveiling the bureau bookcase in its proper form. In his design, Chippendale utilized many rococo and chinois Erie decorations with a glazed upper surface. While initially, the bookcases had mirror or blind-paneled door fronts, these were replaced by clear glass.
The Georgian bureau bookcase became smaller during the Regency period, standing just three feet high. The design also became more minimalist than what was apparent in the previous periods. Previously, the bookcase had covered the entire wall. But now, with the smaller design, it was possible to hang art pieces and photographs on the wall.
Due to the size reduction, designers called the smaller bookcases “dwarf bookcases,” complete with open fronts. However, few dwarf bookcases had a door made from pleated silk or brass grills. Without a door, it changed its name to the open bookcase.
Soon, designers came up with the revolving bookcase, which had a more diminutive stature and was easy to sit next to a chair. The purpose of the revolving bookcase was to hold books for avid readers who couldn’t go through the day without reading.
( Above Photo: Queen Anne Bureau Bookcase - Antique Walnut Cabinet 18th Century)
Designers created the Georgian bookcase to facilitate study or writing. It held all the books and writing materials one needed daily. The bookcase had several nooks and crannies, including a drawer, pigeon hole, pen holders, letter racks, and leather inserts for holding pens and stationery.
Material: Georgian bureau bookcases featured different types of wood, including mahogany, oak, and walnut. During the Regency period, bureau bookcases had glazed tops.
Embellishments: The bookcase had elaborate carvings and featured chinois Erie and ornate decorations in the early Georgian period. Unlike those that came later, they had intricate decorations, which had no decorations to write home about.
Size: Earlier bureau bookcases were more extensive, covering the entire wall. With time, the length reduced to the dwarf bookcase and later to the revolving bookcase.
The Georgian bureau bookcase is a worthy inclusion in any home’s interior décor, introducing a retro theme to your space. It is also highly functional for storing books and stationery. You can find one in-store or online at an antique store.
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