The antique bookcase provided 18th and 19th century furniture designers a new suitable subject for architectural themes. Massive breakfront library bookcases were made with ornate cornices and pediments which in turn were decorated with urns, busts and decorative carving. These major pieces of furniture were viewed as statements of wealth, culture and education too.
Georgian Bookcases date throughout the Georgian periods from 1714 to the early 1800s. Usually standing on shaped bracket feet with brass handles and astragal glazing, these pieces are simple but elegant, constructed from high quality timbers and would grace any home. The renowned cabinet maker Chippendale preferred to use mahogany due to its durability and fine finish that could be achieved, so you see fine quality mahogany bookcases from this era.
The William IV and Regency periods produced similar designs but more fine and traditional in detail with the use of unusual woods like figured rosewood, zebra wood and decorations like Corinthian columns. These little details can make a piece of furniture stand out from a crowd and very sought after by collectors. Victorian antique bookcases
date from Queen Victoria’s era of 1837 to 1901 and the idea was usability, rounded corners, highly French polished and towards the end of her era, carvings. The vast wealth of the Victorian period meant more houses were being built and more furniture needed to fill them, so you can see lots of new styles emerging. Mahogany and oak was mainly used in the Victorian era, Cabinet makers such as Gillows liked to use oak in Libraries, offices and Schools in simple arts and crafts designs. Other makers like Globe Wernicke
made barrister stackable bookcases
and these are very sought after.
The antique bureau bookcase
or Secretaire is a piece of furniture with a glazed doors above a bureau base so it was designed to sit at whilst writing, but have ease of access to your books above you. Often used for the Gentleman in his office, they were grand and tall, the interior contained small very usable drawers and several pigeon holes for your stationary. It was fashionable for the display of fine leather bound books in the 19th century so small antique open bookcases
were produced, some being revolving
. They were open fronted, very simple in design and had adjustable shelves and occasionally made to stand freely in the middle of the room.
During (1901 – 1910) furniture was more mass produced and with the use of machines on a larger scale, but quality still prevailed. Often earlier styles were copied from fine satinwood Sheraton and Hepplewhite to more heavy Jacobean and Gothic. The Queen Anne design was popular and new styles such as Art Nouveau appeared with fine flowing lines. Wooden antique bookcases from this period are still reasonable to buy but you still get a quality piece of furniture, usually cheaper than a modern reproduction. Walnut was widely used in the Edwardian bookcase
, either a plain American walnut or a more figured Burr walnut effect, due to the golden shades that could be achieved and this fit the fashion of the period perfectly.
Below are some more examples we have previously sold, have a look and let us know if any particular style is what you are looking for and we will see if we can find something similar.
Large Victorian Quality Oak Antique Open Bookcase. Dating from around 1890 in the Victorian period this antique open bookcase is made from quality solid oak and has relatively large proportions. The beautifully figured rectangular top sits above three adjustable shelves which are then framed by reeded sides providing a subtle decoration. It stands on a plain plinth and still owns its original back boards. The main body of the bookcase is made from solid oak which has aged to a lovely warm mellow shade.
Superb Quality Walnut Arts & Crafts Antique Glazed Bookcase. Dating from around 1880 in the Victorian period this wonderful example of an Arts & Crafts bookcase is constructed from walnut. It has a moulded cornice above two glazed doors with moulded glazing bars, key and working lock. The doors are well framed by two carved pilasters and the interior has three adjustable shelves complete with leather dust protectors. The base has a low waisted rectangular moulded top above two sliding doors with simple decorative detailing. The interior has a single fixed shelf. Like the top these doors are also framed with simple, carved pilasters. The bookcase stands on an inverted break fronted plinth and has aged to a warm medium shade of walnut with the charm and character gained through age and use.
Rare Pollard Oak Arts & Crafts Antique Victorian Bookcase. In the style and of the quality of a Holland & Sons piece this superb bookcase dates from around 1880 and has been constructed using rare pollard oak. It has an unusual castellated cornice above two glazed doors with arched mouldings and key with working lock. The interior has three adjustable shelves providing a variety of display options. The base has a rectangular moulded top above two oak lined drawers and two cupboard doors with striking pollard oak figured panels, moulded edges and original brass handles. The interior of the cupboard contains a single removable shelf. The doors are flanked by decorative corbels, exceptionally carved with oak leaf and acorn detailing.
Quality Victorian ‘Slimline’ Antique Mahogany Bookcase. Dating from around 1870 in the Victorian period this mahogany antique glazed bookcase has a quality build finish with attractive proportions. The moulded cornice sits above two glazed doors with key and working lock. The doors carry a period brass handle and open to reveal three adjustable shelves. The base of the bookcase has a rectangular top above two cupboard doors with beautifully figured central panels and moulded edges. The interior of the cupboard is divided into two sections having a total of three removable shelves. The piece has attractive proportions being quite slim with regard to its depth. It is also full of charm and character from years of use and splits into two sections enabling easier transportation.
Unusual, Small, Regency Mahogany Antique Glazed Bookcase. It is with great pleasure we are able to offer for sale this beautiful antique Regency mahogany glazed bookcase, circa 1830. It is unusual both in design and size making it a very desirable and practical piece, most probably specially commissioned when first crafted. It has a moulded cornice above four glazed doors with beautifully figured mahogany frames, keys and working locks. The upper interior has three adjustable shelves while the interior of the lower bookcase has just two.