An important early 19th century Regency period rosewood and brass inlaid breakfront chiffonier, having mirrored galleried upper part with fretwork and column sides, above gilt brass edged top and frieze drawers with inlaid swag and phoenix panels, flanked by gilt brass female heads. The chiffonier having four silk pleased doors, flanked by tapering brass panels, ending on toupie feet. Depth at centre: 16 ins (41cms).
This Chiffonier, with its fine quality cabinet work and distinctive mounts, resembles the cabinet work of John McLean, see Simon Redburn, 'John McLean and Son', Furniture History, (Vol. XIV 1978, pp. 31-7). Redburn illustrates a number of secretaire pieces by McLean that illustrate their development from the simpler more elegant examples, of which this is one, to the over embellished later pieces.
The firm of John McLean and Son advertised that it specialised in 'Elegant Parisian Furniture' and although the 6 surviving pieces that bear his trade label are undoubtedly English, they do owe much to Gallic influence not only in their design, but also in their lavish use of metal mounts. McLean seems to have worked primarily in rosewood but Redburn states that he certainly worked in other mediums. He comments that, 'perhaps the most dominant feature of McLean's decoration is his lavish use of metalwork in cast and chased brass, which is gilded and lacquered. The actual cabinet work is of high order, the pieces being meticulously finished, both externally and internally, in the English manner'.
The firm supplied furniture for the Earl of Jersey for Middleton Park, Oxford and fine recorded labelled pieces of furniture would indicate that McLean had a considerable business of some importance at a highly competitive time in English cabinet-making. The reputation of firms such as Gillows of Lancaster and Chippendale are well known due the preservation of their detailed drawing and estimate books. However, the Directories of the period contain many entries for cabinet-makers whose importance has been obscured due to the lack of documentation and the dispersal of important collections. Thomas Sheraton's 'Cabinet Dictionary' in 1803 mentions, in reference to a 'Pouch Table', a 'Mr. M'Lean in Mary-le-bone street, near Tottenham court road, who finishes these small articles in the neatest manner'. This acknowledgement is accompanied by McLean's name in the list of Master Cabinet-Makers.
Regency Rosewood and Brass inlaid Chiffonier, after Designs by John Mclean
Country of Origin: England
Height: 36¼'' (91.5 CM)
Width: 72¼'' (183 CM)
Depth: 12¾'' (32 CM)