The bookcase has an exceptional carved breakfront pediment which sits above astragal glazed doors that rest on a carved moulded edge with acanthus leaf decoration. The lower section with a secretaire drawer has a centre cupboard below which is fitted with trays and another full length drawer. The secretaire is flanked by drawers above panelled cupboard doors concealing banks of drawers. The bookcase rests on a crisply carved gadrooned moulded plinth base and carries the original gilt brass swan neck handles.
In our opinion the bookcase has three compelling styles which we believe can be directly related to the designs of William Kent; The pediment has a vitruvian-wave which is prevalent throughout William Kent's designs and his commissions; the leaf carved decoration on the pediment is seen on items designed by William Kent that have been made for various estates in England; the overall character of the pediment has the palladian style that William Kent is famous for.
The maker was almost certainly working in a London workshop carrying out William Kent's designs. However the moulding to the base of the bookcase closely resembles the work of cabinet maker William Hallett. This moulding is often seen in commissioned furniture for St. Giles's House, Dorset for the 4th Earl of Shaftesbury.
Provenance: Mr John Leech, Devizes, Wiltshire