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Origin: England
Circa Date: 1815
Stock No: F2E0239
Location: New York
H: 38.2 in (97.0 cm)
W: 30.7 in (78.0 cm)
L/D: 15.0 in (38.0 cm)
Price Range:
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An early 19th century double-sided dwarf bookcase in the manner of John McLean, in rosewood of fine figuring and colour throughout, the top with rounded corners surmounted by a pierced brass gallery, the sides with recessed panels with brass foliate borders and centred with a large brass lion's head carrying handle, the shelves and column supports all with inset brass mouldings, raised on turned and tapering feet.

John McLean was one of the major names of London cabinet-making in the early 19th century. His work was influenced by furniture of the late Louis XVI and the Empire period and appealed to those who favoured the French taste. He advertised himself as specializing in 'Elegant Parisian Furniture'. McLean was also influenced by Thomas Sheraton and subscribed to his Cabinet Directory of 1803 which listed him among the master cabinet-makers. Citing a small work table by McLean, Sheraton writes: 'The design… taken from one executed by Mr M'Lean in Mary-le-bone street…who finishes these small articles in the neatest manner'.

There exist a small group of labelled McLean pieces, including a secretaire in the Victoria and Albert Museum. There is also a considerable number of other pieces attributable to McLean's workshop. They all show a favour for rosewood veneers, satinwood banding and boxwood stringing, delicate brass inlay in some instances, giltwood detail in others. The gilded mounts are finely chased and the fluted brass insets found, for example, on his writing tables and bonheurs du jour are hallmarks of his work. The quality is consistent and the style is distinctive, standing out uniquely amidst the predominant, late neo-classical revival fashion of the English Regency era.


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