Relevant categories: Bookcases
(Above photo - George II Bureau Bookcase - 18th Century Mahogany )
The bureau bookcase first appeared early on in the Georgian period. The original design released in 1730 featured a large central compartment with winged sides. But it was not until Thomas Chippendale published The Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Directory in 1754 that people got to know the true form of the bureau bookcase. Chippendale’s design featured lots of chinoiserie and rococo decorations with a glazed upper surface.
Whatever Chippendale and later designers did was to make improvements on a form of bureau bookcase that had been around since the 17th century. At that time, most of the noble’s homes had one form of a bookcase or another. The earliest form was a cabinet with glass running from the pediment to the plinth. Later on, designers would modify the cabinet to make the bureau bookcase (or the secretaire). The very first bureau bookcases had blind-paneled or mirror door fronts. Later on, the mirrors and blind panels were replaced with clear glass.
(Above photo - Georgian Bureau Bookcase in Mahogany Desk )
The Regency period saw the bureau bookcases morph into smaller cabinet bookcases, usually three feet high. With that minimalist design, it was now possible for people to hang artwork and photographs on the walls. The smaller cabinets were aptly referred to as “dwarf bookcases” and often had open fronts. Only a few of these bookcases had doors made from brass grills and pleated silk. If it didn’t have at least one door, then it was called an open bookcase.
In the 18th century, the first revolving bookcase came to the fore. It was small in stature and could easily stand next to a chair. The revolving bookcase was meant to hold books for individuals who couldn’t finish a day without immersing themselves in the written word. Surprisingly, contemporary furniture makers still produce these bookcases for various purposes.
(Above photo - Georgian Bureau Bookcase - Mahogany Antique Cabinet Circa 1800 )
The main purpose of the bureau bookcase was to facilitate writing or study. Users could access all the books, papers, and stationary they needed for their work. In the interior, the bookcase had leather inserts with the appropriate tools, letter racks, pen holders, pigeon holes, and a drawer for holding stationary.
Bureau bookcases were made from different types of wood – walnut or mahogany. Walnut was common during the 18th century with a characteristic feather branding. In the later Georgian period, designers and furniture makers mainly favored mahogany with a glazed top. One needed to open the glazed door to see whatever was displayed inside – decorative items or books.
(Above photo - Georgian Bureau Bookcase Mahogany Antique )
The Edwardian period saw the increased production of mahogany bookcases in all types of designs. The growing middle class meant the finest furniture was in high demand in most households across the country. However, furniture makers borrowed a lot from the previous designs by Chippendale and Sheraton. The bureau cases often had high-quality brass fittings and elegant inlays.
The carpenters cleverly designed the bookcases so that they could be split into two sections. So, it was easier for people to transport and fit them into their homes. If you want a bureau bookcase for your home, don’t hesitate to talk to us. We are here to serve you.
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