Since Picture This LXV was so well received, here’s another item of early English furniture for the sleuths to elucidate.
It’s no good saying “… it’s George IV”; I want hard dates and I need to know all the hows, whats, whens and why-fors (there is plenty of relevant information in earlier posts on this blog alone).
The readers who are in the antiques trade will decipher this one instantly, so their replies – should they join in – won’t be posted until others have had a stab at it.
Over to you.
Update, November 14th.
The seventeenth-century table-top desk is intrinsically correct, albeit with a few modifications to the locking mechanism over the years. The desk would have originally had a hasp (attached to the underside of the slope with nails) whose staple would have engaged the slot in the lock plate and been retained by the lock’s bolt (figs. 2 & 3).
It was common practice to nail the lock plate directly over the carved decoration (fig. 4).
At some date a till lock was fitted to the interior of the desk front and the staple slot was filed to create a keyhole. Another lock appears to have been attached to the slope which presumably engages the front of the desk.
The cabriole legs are from a circa 1715-25 lowboy or dressing table. As has already been commented on, the legs are pre-mortise-and-tenon construction: The carcase would have been nailed/dovetailed together first, with the legs being subsequently nailed into the corners of the carcase.
The ribbed angle brackets – of a type still available today (fig. 5) – are attached with slotted screws (fig. 6), so I suppose the legs were attached to the desk either prior to the inception of Phillips screws in the 1920s, or later, by someone with a conscience of some degree.