Luxury Design, Past & Present
A George IV mahogany mechanical escritoire attributed to Gillows, of rectangular form with a vertical superstructure on reeded cabriole legs with a turned stretcher and the original brass castors, pulling out the frieze drawer triggers a mechanism which extends the leather-inset fitted desktop and rolls up the front panel to reveal a central shelf surrounded by eight small drawers and eight pigeonholes, decorated with cross-banding and herring bone veneers. English, circa 1820.
Footnote: Susan E Stuart in ‘Gillows of Lancaster and London, 1730-1840,’ Antique Collectors’ Club, Woodbridge, 2008 Vol.II, p381, pl. GG34, illustrates a similar secretaire writing desk. The first published version of this design appeared in Ackermann’s Directory in January1810 and it was also illustrated in the Lancaster Estimate Sketch Book that same year.