A Good Quality Regency Mahogany Secretaire Bookcase c.1825-30

Origin: English
Period: Regency
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1825-30
Width: 33.75”
Height: 81.75”
Depth: 21” (with handles)

The fine quality mahogany secretaire bookcase of compact proportions, the upper section with reeded cornice over two Gothic arch glazed and barred doors enclosing adjustable shelving on a base with fitted secretaire drawer having draught turned handles opening to reveal a fitted interior with drawers and pigeon holes, over a pair of panelled cupboard doors enclosing three linen shelves, each section retaining its original Bramah lock with key, the whole raised on turned cup and cover supports, surviving from late Regency period England.

The piece is in good, clean and operational order in the sort of original condition that is hard to find and desirable as such. The Bramah locks are working and there doesn’t appear to be any replacement parts or drawers. The feet and handles are original to the piece. The only deficiencies to note are one of the bone handles to the interior is lacking, there are two small cracks to two small panes of glass, one flank has some polished out gauge marks and one section of moulding is missing to the left-hand section middle.

The high security Bramah locks are another sign that this is a very high quality piece of furniture; The Bramah lock was created by Joseph Bramah in 1784 and use a cylindrical key and keyhole. The end of the key has a number of different slots of varying depths, which, when inserted into the lock, presses a number of wafers to a specified depth and enables the key to turn and open the lock. The locks produced by his company were famed for their resistance to lock picking and tampering, and the company famously had a "challenge lock" displayed in the window of their London shop from 1790, mounted on a board containing the inscription:

‘The artist who can make an instrument that will pick or open this lock shall receive 200 guineas the moment it is produced’ - The challenge stood for over 67 years until, at the Great Exhibition of 1851, the American locksmith Alfred Charles Hobbs was able to open the lock and, following some argument about the circumstances under which he had opened it, was awarded the prize. Hobbs' attempt required about 51 hours, spread over 16 days.

Of desirable proportions, this is a very handsome and fine piece of furniture crafted with the best of materials and fitted out at no expense spared.