A Regency Mahogany Writing Desk in the Manner of Thomas Hope c.1805-10

Origin: English
Period: Regency
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1805-10
Height: 33”
Width: 30”
Depth: 26” (all at extremities)

The handsome and boldy drawn Regency period mahogany gentleman's writing desk, in two sections and in the manner of Thomas Hope (1769-1831) and the Egyptian revival, the hinged writing slope having the original distressed tooled Morocco leather writing surface above a single oak-lined and cockbeaded drawer fitted with patinated brass lion's mask handles, the slope with protracting rest arm, both with vacant interiors and with Grecian scroll friezes to each side, the whole raised on four ebonised pharaoh-headed tapering legs with carved lions paw feet and incised line decoration, the whole surviving from the first decade of nineteenth century England.

The condition of the desk is good overall with a lovely deep and rich colour to the mahogany top and expected wear to the extremities.  One of the pharaoh masks is damaged but would be east to restore. The lion mask handles are probably later, though this aside the whole is very original even down to the leather surface. There are no structural issues and she doesn’t appear to be stamped. There are some lovely ink stains commensurate with use.

The influences on Regency design and taste were legion; from Sheraton’s neoclassicism, Henry Holland’s Anglo-French taste, the Greek revival of Thomas Hope as we see here, and the Chinoiserie favoured by the Prince Regent, to an interest in the Gothic, Old English and rustic. The Regency attitude to interior decoration often involved treating each room as a unit with individual furnishings and wall decorations in harmony of theme or colour scheme.

Thomas Hope was a Dutch-British designer who proved to be incredibly influential in the early 19th century. In fact, this was the person who first coined the phrase ''interior decoration''. Through his collecting, designing, and decorating, Thomas Hope not only brought the room together, but helped bring all of England together as well. Hope was born in Holland, the son of a very wealthy banking family. His father was a collector of ancient art, and he picked up the hobby. In the 1790s, Hope went on one of the grandest grand tours of all, traveling across the entirety of the Mediterranean and visiting sites in France, Italy, Greece, and Turkey. Along the way he observed, studied, and collected as much of the ancient world as he could.
The 1790s were a big period of transition for Hope, since the French had invaded Holland and he was forced to flee. He moved to London, and saw an opportunity to reform English tastes and, in his mind, purify them with his knowledge of Classical art.

A fiendishly original and rare desk for serious Regency aficionados.