A Decorative c.1840 Gothic Revival Stained Pine Breakfront Bookcase


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Object Description

The handsome provincial Gothic revival inverted breakfront bookcase, cupboard or cabinet, stained pine to simulate plum pudding mahogany, breaking down into three sections, the whole on a plinth base with pilasters to each flank and a stepped cornice, the top with three arched glazed panels, the ebonized knob handles opening to reveal a series of shaped shelves, the lower section having two arched cupboard doors with a series of four graduated drawers to the middle, survives from early Victorian period England.

Object History


Object Literature

Although the lancet or arched shape of this cupboard is synonymous with gothic design, this example is fairly unusual in that it has a series of drawers to the lower section instead of simply three cupboards. This, and the presence of the glazed lancet panels makes all the difference in a piece of this nature.

The family that owned this piece of furniture originally would have stained it with the idea of it simulating plum-pudding mahogany and thus make them appear wealthier. Ironic now that currently you could argue that this type of surface is more prized commercially than a mahogany cabinet of this period.

“A man who remains any length of time in a modern Gothic room, and escapes without being wounded by some minutiae, may consider himself extremely fortunate’”;
Augustus W. N. Pugin.

This statement rings true for this piece, it being a strong statement piece with a decorative finish and beautiful patination that has plentiful and varied use in it, being part housekeepers cupboard, part bookcase.

Object Condition

The cupboard is presented in good useable overall order. Two of the glazed panels are possibly later replacements whilst the central one is certainly original. The stained pine has a very good colour and patination with wear to all of the appropriate areas. The handles are all seemingly original. There are some old hanging hooks to the interior of the top section suggesting it was previously used in the kitchen. There is a beautiful bitumen patination present to the stained surface. There are a couple of losses to the mouldings here and there. If you favour pieces with timeworn appearance and character then this piece as a whole would be appealing.

Object Details

Dealer Opening Times

By appointment only.

Dealer Contact

+44 (0)1767 640995
+44 (0)7729 213013

Dealer Location

The Onion Barn
Shoe Cottage
15 High Street
MK44 3NL

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