An Unusual James Humphreys c.1890 Figured Walnut Organ, Converted to a Bookcase


Origin: English
Period: Late Nineteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1890-1900
Width: 40.25 inches
Depth: 12.75 inches
Height: 30.75 inches

Of appealing proportions, the figured walnut and stained pine organ by James Humphreys of London standing on ceramic bun feet with cast iron handles to the flanks and turned pilasters, the centre now housing two shelves acting as a bookcase, the flip up top opening to reveal the organ keys with makers name.

The colour of the walnut is superb and the condition largely excellent, the turned pilasters do have some movement though the organ still has its original ceramic feet, side handles and keys. The internals of the organ have obviously all been removed.

Bookcases were first introduced in the 15th century and with few changes along the way to their design, the history of bookcases is indeed a simple and short affair. What cannot be argued with however is that books are as still supremely valued today as they were in the time of the Tudors but whether an organ has ever held books so competently is somewhat open to debate.

James Humphreys (b.1842-d.1900) was established in 1883 at 198 Seymour Street, Oakley Street, Euston Square, London and later moved to 35 Drummond Street, Euston Square where the firm was known as J. Humphreys and Son. It operated from 1867 to 1935 and the company was a relatively little known family of makers of both reed organs and harmoniums who built the Endsleigh organ, including some quite large examples.

A great musically themed twist on the humble bookcase and surely the most useful non-operating organ you’re ever likely to see.