Two Exceedingly Rare George III Satinwood and Sabicu Secretaire Bookcases, Attributed To George Simson, Made For Thomas Weeks
Height: 7'5" Width: 39" Depth: 23.5"
Inventory Number 7984-422
Price Available Upon Request
Each cabinet with three line-inlaid glazed doors opening to adjustable shelves; the side doors with geometric astragals flanking the central arched door; the elaborate pediments incorporating a central white enamel faced clock bearing the markings “Weeks Museum” and “Thomas Weeks”, flanked by carved scroll cresting and surmounted by four brass finials; the high waisted brass banded lower part with a fully fitted secretaire drawer and fully fitted dressing drawer, above a pair of cupboard doors; the four engaged reeded columns headed by leaf capitals; on ring turned feet. The cases executed in the finest West Indian satinwood and inlaid with figured sabicu panels, the drawer interiors of conforming quality. One cabinet with the secretaire drawer above the dressing drawer and formerly fitted with an organ on later feet; minor variations between the two cabinets throughout.
P. MacQuoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1954, vol. I, p. 198, fig. 71.
C. Gilbert, Some Weeks Cabinets Reconsidered, Connoisseur, May 1971, pp. 16 -19.
F. Hinckley, The More Significant Regency Furniture 1800–1830, 1991, p. 72, fig. 94.
These cabinets were part of a suite of dressing and secretaire cabinets which incorporated clocks and automatic organs. This group of furniture, believed to include approximately twenty case pieces, was first researched by Christopher Gilbert (d. 1998), a leading expert on English furniture, while he was acting as Keeper at Temple Newsam. In 1971, an article entitled Some Weeks Cabinest Reconsidered was published in The Connoisseur magazine. Written by Gilbert, it was this examination of the group that has led to further attributions.
The Weeks Museum of Mechanical Curiosities was founded by Thomas Weeks (1743-1834) in 1797 and was located at no. 3 and 4 Tichborne Street. Following the death of Thomas Weeks, his collection was sold at auction in 1834.
GEORGE SIMSON established his workshops at 19 St. Paul’s Churchyard by 1787, and in 1793 opened a Piccadilly warehouse on Dover Street. He was heavily influenced by Sheraton, subscribing to his Drawing Book and referenced the designs frequently. His known use of large panels of sabicu enclosed by satinwood banding supports this attribution. He is listed in G. Beard and C. Gilbert, The Dictionary of English Furniture Makers 1660-1840, 1986, p. 817.
Weeks Cabinets are conserved in the following collections: The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Temple Newsam House, Leeds; Raby Castle, Co. Durham, England.