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A very rare and historically important late 18th century Sheraton period beautifully patinated satinwood writing table by James Baillie, retaining the original pierced diamond trellis curved brass gallery above a later green leather lined writing surface with backwards sliding centre section revealing a well, flanked by two hinged compartments, having two drawers and a central dummy drawer in the frieze below, with the original angular swan-neck handles and fitted with original top quality Bramah locks; on turned tapering legs terminating in brass socket castors. Note: This desk is fitted with the original superior Bramah locks, a sign of high quality. These locks can be dated from their manufacturer’s stamp to 1798. The original brass castors have been repaired. The previously converted middle drawer has been reinstated as a dummy, and the sliding middle section of the top has been released. The inside of the dust board is signed and dated by James Baillie: ‘James Baillie July 18-1798 I have heard this day that the Rules [possibly ‘Royals’] have surrounded Dublin success my brave Boys. J B is a Scotsman.’ This poignant note, concealed within the writing table, refers to the Irish uprising in 1798.

Literature: Geoffrey Beard and Christopher Gilbert, The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, p. 31. Elizabeth White, Pictorial Dictionary of British 18th Century Furniture Design: The Printed Sources, 1990, p. 220.


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