A beautiful ivory inlaid antique desk and matching antique dining chair were two of the items seen by the Antiques Roadshow experts when they made a return visit to York recently. They were valued at around £3,000 for the pair – a fraction of what they would have been worth had they been originals, rather than 19th century copies.
In Lancashire, Victorian oak pedestal desks are a familiar sight in antique shops. On 25th March Antique Roadshow paid a return visit to the Yorkshire Museum, to show us an interesting variant: a 19th century bureau Mazarin, modelled on a 17th century form dating from around 1690. Beautifully inlaid with ivory, with ebony borders, the Italian made rosewood piece had two pedestals, each with three drawers, but differed from antique mahogany pedestal desks of English design due to having four legs with X-stretchers, rather than pedestals extending to the ground. Had it been a genuine 17th century French piece, it might have been worth tens of thousands of pounds, but one feature told viewers in Lancashire that this antique desk was a Victorian copy: a telling superstructure, which bureau Mazarins of the 1690s did not have.
Attention then switched to the X-framed chair. The origins for this were in 15th century Renaissance Italy, as it was a copy of the Savonarola chair, complete with a central medallion depicting the man himself. Girolamo Savonarola was a Dominican friar who became a famous leader of Florence and had a chair like it in San Marco. However, the same design can be seen in the tombs of ancient Egypt. Antique dealers in Lancashire often have Victorian dining chairs modelled on earlier designs.
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