Second-Hand Store Find – Davenport C.1850

How’s this for a find?  Our client noticed this piece in a second hand store and snapped it up.

The piece had some veneer issues and the faux drawers down the side had a large crack all the way through.  The leather top had completely perished due to the age of the piece, and some of the drawer pulls were cracked or missing.  Also, one of the feet had come off whilst in transit to us.  It was also in need of a full clean.

With antiques in original condition it is very important to ensure that any repair or restoration work is sympathetic to the age of the piece.  Generally, whilst it is ok to repair or restore antique items in order to ensure that they retain their value the restorer must keep intact their original character.  After all, a piece must be less than 50% restored to be considered a real antique.

Our first step as always is to complete the major repair work.  After this the piece was given a deep clean all over.  We then finished with a fresh layer of French polish and a replacement leather insert for the top.

An interesting side note to this project – It had clearly been in the home or office of someone of importance as we discovered it had a Chubb detector lock fitted to it.  These locks began production around 1820 and were designed to alert the owner to tampering.  If someone without the key tried to pick the lock and look at the contents within the lock broke and the next time the owner tried to use his individual key to access the desk it wouldn’t fit and required a makers master key to open it.  Only someone who had items or documents of value would have required such a lock!