Pairs of bookcases such as these would have likely flanked a large fireplace within the library of a grand house.
One of the obligations of a wealthy existence in the early 1700s was an interest in reading, or at least the impression of developing such an interest. Large bookcases such as these helped in that pursuit as they kept elaborately leather-bound books neatly behind a screen. The broad panels of marquetry and gilt-bronze mounts below suggest that the overall decorative scheme of figures symbolizing Geography and Commerce was perhaps more prominent than the rich intellectual holdings within.
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