A rare musical ‘Captain’s Desk’ Davenport sold for £9,500 (plus buyer’s premium) in Tennants Auctioneers’ Scientific and Musical Instruments, Cameras, and Tools Sale on 17th May. At first glance this piece, which was made circa 1875-80, appears to be purely a well veneered compact desk with a sloped piano-lid over an extendable writing desk. However, concealed within the burr-walnut finished body is a finely made musical box.
This rare piece is at the intersection of furniture making and mechanical musical instruments and displays the cooperative artisanship of multiple makers. The musical box was made by A.B Bremond, a Swiss musical box maker whose main body of work dates to the mid to late nineteenth century. The mechanism for changing the cylinders bears the mark of Blumberg and Co., a London based cabinet maker last documented in 1871, and the Davenport casework has been ascribed to Edwards and Roberts, a successful furniture maker and retailer in London. Very few such pieces have ever appeared on the open market.