Thakeham Furniture

December 23, 2010

Glazed Bookcases – Invented by Pepys?

Amongst new stock this month is this beautiful mahogany glazed bookcase.

Dating from about 1810, it is a typical Regency piece in the quality of its construction: the timber is dense, with a wonderful figure, and all the mouldings are crisply executed. The brass locks and hinges are also top quality.

Unusually for a bookcase of this period, both top and bottom sections are glazed, giving it an elegance of design. The lovely Gothic astragal glazing bars also make this piece stand out.

Glazed bookcases of this type are believed to have been invented by Samuel Pepys. During the 1660s he had 12 of them built for him in oak, to hold his growing collection of printed books. They have been preserved in the Pepys Library at Magdalene College, Cambridge.

Secret drawers are always a feature that have wide appeal – and are also an indication of an expensive piece, because of the time and craftsmanship they demanded. This bookcase has a very unusual one – a “map” drawer that is concealed in the plinth! It is operated by a brass button within.

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