Picture This CXXXV

Here’s another one for the sleuths: This is described as a “quality solid mahogany dressing table, circa 1770”.

Can I have your opinions please?

Jack Plane

About Jack Plane

Formerly from the UK, Jack is a retired antiques dealer and self-taught woodworker, now living in Australia.
This entry was posted in Antiques, Picture This and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Picture This CXXXV

  1. Richard Cooper says:

    Circa 1770 when made but carving probably late 19th century. Ruined by the Victorians passion for carving old pieces.


  2. Warwick says:

    It looks at first glance to be Victorianianised with all the shallow carving, or Victorian to me.


  3. Joe M says:

    Looks like someone received a carving tool set and DVD for the holidays and went crazy on Grandma’s victorian knee-hole desk.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Matthew Pease says:

    Poor, poor thing. I weep for it. Tattooed all over its face against its will. Pierced brasses of the 1740s look right for the design. Nice, dark, solid mahogany, possibly Jamaican. Cruelly disfigured by some Victorian “improver”. Why, oh why couldn’t they have picked on some badly proportioned, second rate old thing to mangle. I sometimes look at these and wonder whether they are salvageable; shave 5mm off the surfaces to get back to the original form? But the work, and the result, means they have a negative value, so I turn away from these crippled wrecks with an odd sense of guilt and betrayal. I might have saved it…


  5. potomacker says:

    I rather like furniture with a complex history, rather than a mundane, verifiable origin story. I am curious about the brasses however. The pair on the top drawer lack a slot for a keyhole and yet the lowers drawers have the keyholes slot but never had locksets. There is a hole inside the escutcheon suggesting, at least, this item was switched out, perhaps at the same time of the carving. I tend to think later than the carving since some of the brasses extend into the border and cover the carved additions.


  6. hbm-la says:

    It’s OK. Nobody, but the adorable 5-year-old niece can put her knees into the nook. But really, can’t I do that with my Ikea?


  7. kevin joy says:

    Is it not a knee hole desk


  8. Jack Plane says:

    I didn’t think this one would prove much of a contest. It is simply a circa 1740 mahogany kneehole desk (or dressing table; depending on the interior of the top drawer) which has been defaced with a style of carving that was fashionable in the late nineteenth-century.

    Thank you all for your comments and participation.



  9. Sadly a common sight to see a piece used by the late Victorians who went through a period of hobby carving. This practice was carried out on any furniture classed as ancient mainly oak and mahogany but very little was carried out on walnut due to the veneering.
    I did in 1980s 90s remove all the carved front, plane them flat and then glue similar Mahogany hand made veneers to the fronts to give the piece back its look. What a difference that made. No market for this work or skill today.


  10. Paul@bcfnc says:

    I can just imagine a late Victorian secondhand furniture dealer wondering what he could possibly do to “smarten up” what in his opinion was piece of drab old mahogany furniture . “ Hmmm, buy it for 2/6d, spend 1/6d, sell it for 7/6d …..that makes for a good deal “


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