IMPORTANT BUREAU BOOKCASE IN FIGURED MAHOGANY, GEORGE III PERIOD. BUREAU WITH SMALL DRAWERS, DECORATIVE COLUMNS AND PIGEON HOLES, 2 OVER 3 DRAWERS BELOW. LIBRARY PART ORIGINAL TO THE BUREAU.
The top and the bottom of this bureau bookcase are original to one another. They are not “associated” or “married” as many of the pieces of this type being sold nowadays. Somehow antique dealers, even prestigious ones, do not consider this a serious defect (when they want to sell a piece). However, as far as we are concerned it is a serious problem of originality and authenticity. Perhaps the reasoning is historical; that owners of bureaux in the 18th or 19th century, somehow thought that their cabinetmaker could add a library on top at a later date, not an easy task as the woods used could never be the same. Similar yes, but not the same, since each tree is different in color, texture and figure.
It is more common that the library was added decades or even centuries later. We have seen in the UK, a warehouse full of upper libraries sitting legless on the floor next to another warehouse full of bureaux, all candidates for a “marriage”! So one can even …pick and choose. The infamous syndrome of “good enough”.
The problem comes when one decides to sell one of these “marriages” thinking that they have a masterpiece. Astute antiques dealers or auctioneers will correctly point out to the prospective seller that their masterpiece is not worth what they might think. However I should point out that one needs substantial experience in antique furniture and/or restoration to be able to detect such “marriages”. Definitely, as an investment, an “associated” piece is substantially less valuable than a totaly original one.