Pair of Gilt Book Racks
Probably Allen Bros., Philadelphia c. 1880
This extraordinary matched pair of expandable, water-gilded and polychromed book racks has unusually fine detailing and is in a wonderful state of preservation. Inspired by decorative motifs of English Arts and Crafts designers such as Bruce Talbert and Christopher Dresser, these innovative pieces are fully American in their execution relating to the novel Modern Gothic work of Philadelphia cabinetmakers Daniel Pabst and Allen Brothers, to whom these book racks are attributed. A chair of related design and detailing at the Brooklyn Museum is also attributed to the Allen firm. Both racks have impressed four-digit numbers on the underside of their sliding carriage bases.