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Superb Hungarian Ash Desk Attributed To Howard & Sons C. 1875

50.5 inches wide, 23.5 inches deep and 30 inches high.

The kneehole is 15 inches wide and 24 inches floor to underside of the drawer.

For metric please multiply by 2.5
Full Description
Displaying all of the high quality detailing and exemplary cabinet work for which Howard & Sons was internationally recognised, this beautiful and finest quality desk was almost certainly made by Howard & Sons of Berners Street in around 1875. A London cabinet maker, alongside Gillows, Howard & Sons was amongst a handful of pre-eminent British cabinet makers which used Hungarian Ash in their work.
The timber was expensive and considered so beautiful and rare that it was used in Gillows and Howard exhibition pieces, including pieces on display at the Great Exhibition of 1851 at Crystal Palace. These companies did not stamp all of their work and the desk does not appear to be stamped, but it may be.

With Hobbs & Co., lock (again which feature on both Howard and Gillows cabinets).

The desk has a breakfront outline with two fielded panel doors flanked by slender ring turned pillars with acanthus carved capitals. The ash has a dark vibrant swirling grain against a beautiful golden colour with shimmering ripples similar to satinwood or maple. The top border has been outlined in walnut and there are dark walnut inlays of Arts and Crafts form – a medieval French cross and splayed seed heads - and solid walnut arched and applied mouldings to the doors.

The top with thick taupe coloured leather skiver in three parts, each with a gold tooled border and the leather is without damage or significant wear and marks. The drawers are beautifully made, each lined in solid mahogany with particularly tiny hand cut dovetails.
The left hand cupboard door opens to reveal three graduated drawers with original flush brass handles. The right hand cupboard door opens to reveal two solid ash shelves. There are some minor marks and small dents. An old, short and very fine repaired crack to the top on one corner and small scuffs to the inner face of the left hand door which encloses the three drawers (just where the drawers have not been pushed back fully and the door has been closed against them), a fine crack is present only to the inner face of this door. The doors and all drawers open and close smoothly and the desk is set on its original small casters.
In a very good condition for age consistent with careful use and with a lovely consistent colour throughout, the desk has come from a private Surrey home and has been well looked after.
The quality of the cabinet work, attention to detail, proportion and the striking figuring of the ash is an absolute joy.
This is very fine piece of furniture, of exhibition quality and a most attractive, usable and compact desk.