The Work of a Master:18th-Century Pedestal Desk by Thomas Chippendale

  • July 20, 2013 16:35

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This incredibly rare pedestal desk bears numerous characteristics that suggest its creation by Thomas Chippendale himself.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
This "red wash" under the desk was used by Chippendale to help the wood resist damage. He was one of a handfull of furniture craftsman in the world to use this specific technique.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
Finding an 18th-century furnishing that can be attributed to Thomas Chippendale is like finding the “holy grail” of antique furniture. This George III Mahogany Twin Pedestal Desk is just such a treasure. 
Every inch of this spectacular desk bears qualities synonymous with Chippendale’s signature craftsmanship. A letter of authenticity by appraiser Gary Fowler notates seven characteristics attributed specifically to the master cabinetmaker. The use of the highest-quality Cuban mahogany, his signature "red wash", "triple-wheel" friction casters and locking mechanisms by London metalsmith Elizabeth Gascoigne, among others, distinguish this desk as a very rare Chippendale original. 
Chippendale was primarily a furniture and interior designer, and produced a handful of furnishings in his St. Martin’s Lane workshop. Since so few examples exist, on the rare occasions they do come on the market are met with great excitement. The current record for the most expensive piece of English furniture is held by the Herrington Commode, a bowfront cabinet attributed to Chippendale that sold in 2010 at Sotheby’s London for just under $6-million dollars.  The previous record holder was, not surprisingly, also a Chippendale piece, which had sold in 2008 for approximately $5 million.


The impact of Chippendale’s designs on the history of both furniture and the whole of interior design can never be overstated. His Gentleman and Cabinet-Maker’s Director was the first interior design text ever published, and it showcased to the world Chippendale’s gift for line, proportion and superior craftsmanship. His designs and theories were so pivotal that he is the only person to have an entire style named after him rather than a monarch. 
To view M.S. Rau Antiques’ outstanding selection of antique furniture, click here.
Locking mechanisms by London metalsmith Elizabeth Gascoigne were another staple of furnishings created specifically by Chippendale.
M.S. Rau Antiques, New Orleans
About M.S. Rau Antiques…
M.S. Rau Antiques has spent over 100 years earning the trust of discerning collectors world-wide. Located in the heart of the historic New Orleans’ French Quarter, our peerless showroom houses one of the world’s most extensive and stunning collections of important fine art by artists such as Monet and van Gogh, rare 18th and 19th century antiques and breathtaking jewelry, including rare colored diamonds.

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Beauty, Rarity, History: The M.S. Rau Blog

A New Orleans institution for over 100 years, M.S. Rau is among the premier fine art and antiques galleries in the world. Located in the heart of the French Quarter, our gallery overflows with incredible antiques by names including Tiffany & Co., Paul Revere and Fabergé. Our unparalleled selection of important, original paintings and sculpture spans the 16th through the 21st century, including legendary artists such as Brueghel, Monet and Rockwell, while our diverse selection of exquisite jewels, including rare colored diamonds, Kashmir sapphires and Burma rubies is without equal.

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