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Big Bookcase

When one looks at 18th Century bookcases it is surprising to discover that bureau bookcases and their secretaire cousins seem to outnumber the plain variety.

I have been searching for some time for a specimen that would yield the maximum book-holding capacity for a given floor area, to house my own reference collection and it has to be said that majority of examples range from the dull to the downright ugly.

The bookcase I eventually found was admittedly large – 8 feet high and 4 feet wide – but the proportions are nonetheless elegant provided one has the ceiling height to accommodate it.

The glazed top has a central spine so that the shelves on either side are short enough not to sag and the adjustable slot arrangement allows for two layers of full folio-size volumes topped by three layers of quarto and octavo. The slightly projecting base has a simple adjustable shelf behind each flame-panelled door, giving considerable space for files.

Perhaps its most impressive aspect is the sheer engineering quality: after 200 years, the slim mahogany frames of the 5ft high main doors, each carrying about 10lbs of glass, have not warped so much as a millimetre.

This item is for sale but any purchaser will have my homeless books on his or her conscience.

Tel: 0208 467 7040     Fax: 0208 857 1313     Email msim@michaelsim.com     1 Royal Parade, Chislehurst, Kent BR7 5PG