What came first…. the miniature or the full scale?
This small scale model at just 9” wide dates from the very beginning of the mahogany period in English furniture, circa 1730-1740. The slender bracket foot, the open plate original gilt brass escutcheon to the fall and unusually or extremely early for the period skeleton escutcheons to the drawers.
Some say that miniature pieces such as this were made by the apprentice and I’m sure in some cases perhaps they were, but this piece is fine, with oak-lined dovetailed drawers, box cockbeading which was possibly Japanned and a fully working miniature lock. From a cabinetmaking background myself, it is clear to me that this piece was made with an extremely high level of understanding of the techniques required to produce the full-scale example and therefore, by the master to show potential clients the latest developments in furniture making and design of the period to secure the full-scale commission! How exciting it would have been to know your full-size bureau would be delivered after studying this model!
This piece is most likely London made and possibly Saint Paul’s churchyard. Of course, it could have been made elsewhere but given the date of the piece and quality, I think unlikely.