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The intricacies of our new stock

In our most recent photoshoot, mentioned in the last newsletter, we did not solely take photographs of pairs.  We had other fabulous single pieces.  By far the most impressive is this monumental exhibition quality rolltop secretaire bookcase/desk.  It has all the hallmarks of Morel and Seddon’s craftsmanship, especially in the extraodinary quality of the ormolu mounts. 

A Maltese pietra dura table top attributed to Joseph Darmanin & Sons

Above is a pietra dura tabletop showing a chestnut horse tethered to a date palm within bands of precious and semi-precious garlands.  It is the product of the Joseph Darmanin & Sons workshop in Malta, which catered for wealth travellers undertaking their ‘Grand Tour’ in  the 19th century.  The stone masons of Malta had long been skilled in the art of marble mosaics, most famously for the intricate and colourful tombstones of the Knights Hospitallers of St John in the Cathedral in Valletta. 

Another example of an animal depicted in painstaking mosaics is this intarsia wood panel of a jaguar.  The leaves and foliage in the background appear to be cut as positives and negatives of the same templates, but in different woods.  It is the ultimate jigsaw.  

Intricate marquetry inlays - both as floral panels and geometric trellis - are a feature of the French commode above.  With a bow front and cabriole legs this item of furniture has some softened outlines.

If, on the other hand, you prefer straight lines and geometry, then another French commode is for you.  Rather than floral marquetry, the inlaid decoration is entirely made up of quarter veneers and the surfaces are flat.  The only ornamentation is in the ormolu mounts and handles.

Even more restrained is this Continental marble topped brass coffee table from the 1930s.  

An Interesting Regency Period kneehole bureau cabinet with ormolu mounts of exceptional quality

This extremely unusual piece of furniture can be thought of as a kneehole desk with a superstructure, a writing cabinet on a pedestal base or as a bureau cabinet with a kneehole section. Although examples of this kind of furniture were produced from the early 18th century onwards they are very rare and no designs for these sorts of pieces seem to have survived in the usual design books. That may suggest that these pieces were not often produced for stock by cabinetmakers-they may have been bespoke pieces for specific clients and to suit particular spaces....

 

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