Georgian Mahogany Revolving Bookcase

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This rare George III-period revolving bookcase beautifully exhibits the artistry and ingenuity of Georgian furniture makers. Crafted of luxurious Cuban mahogany in a refined neoclassical style, this three-tiered case features trompe I'oeil dividers made to look like leather-bound volumes and boasts cast-bronze pulls. The frieze drawers in the drum table base are inlaid with ebony, a rarity during this time of ebonized veneer and all of the frieze drawers are faux, save for one. Clearly the work of a master craftsman, the case's turned column tripod base ends in legs fitted with the original brass casters.

The late Georgian era is considered by many to be the zenith of English cabinet-making and this bookcase is certainly a triumph of early 18th century-inventiveness. A patent was taken out in July, 1808 by Benjamin Crosby for "a machine or stand for books, which may be either circular, square, or any other convenient shape and which may be turned or moved at pleasure; with cases to receive books." This elegant yet flexible bookstand demonstrates the demand for furniture to be light and small enough to be easily moved about. The design for these bookcases was prompted by the desire to leave walls free for paintings. A revolving bookcase such as this could be placed in corners or recesses where a traditional case would otherwise be inconvenient to dispose the same number of books.

This type of circular bookstand is illustrated on pl.13 in Rudolph Ackermann's Repository for Arts for March, 1810 as an "ingenious contrivance."

Page 83 of Regency Furniture 1795-1830, 1965, by Margaret Jourdain pictures similar revolving bookstands.

An identical revolving bookstand is illustrated in Frances Collard's Regency Furniture, 1985, p. 16.
Place of Origin
Date of Manufacture
circa 1800
19th Century
Materials and Techniques
Excellent. Excellent Condition. .
60.5 in. H
154 cm H
Dealer Location
New Orleans, LA
Number of Items
Reference Number
M.S. Rau Antiques
630 Royal St.
New Orleans LA 70130
(888) 986-0322
1stdibs Dealer since 2010 Located in New Orleans, LA
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