Wimbledon-Furniture is delighted to offer for sale this pair of Samuel Pepys 1666 large library bookcases after the original.
Please note the delivery fee listed is just a guide, it covers within the M25 only, for an accurate quote please send me your postcode
These bookcases are basically the birthplace of the free standing bookcase as we know it today, in 2016 they celebrated their 350th anniversary, these are 20th century examples hand made by a master craftsman, every single piece of wood has been hand cut
I have never seen a pair in Mahogany before or this wide, all the others have been significantly slimmer
I’ll include below the history of the pieces in their original form, these bookcases are historically important, the originals are in the Samuel Pepys Library in the Magdalene College of Oxford university, there is one in the Victorian and Albert Museum
These have been cleaned waxed and polished and are in sublime condition, there are working keys for most locks
Please note all measurements are taken at the widest point, if you would like any additional or specific measurements please ask
350th Anniversary year 2016 marks the 350th Anniversary of the Great Fire of London, which Pepys so famously recorded in his diary.
This year also marks the 350th birthday of Pepys’ first two bookcases, or ‘presses’ as he called them.
Pepys noted in July 1666 that he had lost the use of his books due to their being stacked up on chairs. Instead of emulating a library in an aristocratic house by fitting shelving to the walls in his modest lodgings on Seething Lane, Pepys decided upon a flexible (and affordable) approach to the storage of his books. He commissioned a ship’s Master Joiner, Thomas Simpson, to help create a radical new design. The freestanding ‘flat pack’ oak book presses, which can be dismantled and moved using the carrying handles fitted to the sides, indicate Pepys’ ambition to move into bigger and better accommodation. During Pepys’ lifetime, the presses were moved around as he changed his place of residence. However, the presses have never been moved from the Pepys Building since their arrival at Magdalene in 1724. During the Great Fire of London in September 1666, when the first two book presses were almost brand new, Pepys had them sent across the River Thames to Deptford for safe-keeping. A few weeks after the fire, Thomas Simpson returned to help ‘set them up’ again in Seething Lane.
The book presses are a representation of Pepys’ understanding of book conservation and a reflection of his astuteness. By employing the services of a ship’s master joiner, Pepys used his naval connections to ensure a ‘good deal’ for the materials and workmanship, and the presses are reminiscent of ship’s furniture, for example the deep carving patterns in the wood. The wooden feet prevent damp and rodent damage, and the glazed fronts allow the books to be shown to their best advantage. This type of book storage was revolutionary, and the presses are now considered to be the oldest of their type with these particular features. Of course, books in the 17th century were still a symbol of status and the notion of books as aesthetically beautiful objects to enhance a room’s decoration was an important one. This idea, combined with Pepys’ love of order and organisation, leads to an obsession with achieving aesthetic perfection, and the overall look of the library was extremely important to him. The books are stored in order of height, going against contemporary practice of shelving books by subject matter. Although this seems a very illogical idea, we can be grateful to Pepys for his predilection for symmetry of form: by having books of the same size next to each other, the books are well supported and thus the bindings remain in a good condition to the present day.
Pepys repeatedly vowed to himself in his diary that he would not buy any books which he did not have room for in his presses, but throughout his lifetime and as his wealth increased, he commissioned more presses to be made in the same design to house his ever-growing book collection. Although at first glance the presses look identical, there are slight differences: the later presses do not have adjustable shelving, whilst the early ones do.
All twelve presses can be viewed in the Pepys Library during the public opening hours. Please see the Magdalene College Website for our opening times.
Any questions please feel free to ask before you bid
DELIVERY OR COLLECTION
This item is available for collection from our Wimbledon warehouses SW19-3BE, we can have it delivered nationwide to include Scotland Wales and Ireland.
Please contact me via email or my contact information is under the business seller section of the listing with your postcode for a delivery quotation.
Please be sure to include which item you would like to buy as the price is determined on size and distance, if you would like more than one piece of furniture the courier offers a substantial discount on the second and third item, for international shipping please view the below information
Wimbledon-Furniture is a privately owned family ran business out of Wimbledon SW19, we have four large storage warehouse’s, if you have any questions my number is under the business sellers information, please feel free to call or text
We accept payment via card at the warehouse on the day of collection, PayPal or bacs prior to collection We would kindly ask that all items are paid for within 48 hours and collected within 7 working days, we can hold all paid items for 14 days free of charge, there after a £10 a week storage fee will apply for the first two weeks
Please ask before purchase should you wish us to hold something for longer than two weeks, if after three months your item isn’t collected you will forfeit your payment and the item will be placed for sale again
Please view the very detailed pictures as they form part of the description around condition
Please also ask any questions before you bid and not after, all of our items are sold as seen and as listed
Please note vintage period and original items such as leather seating will always have natural patina in the form of cracking creasing and wear, we recommend regular waxing to ensure no moisture is lost, also hand dyed leather is not recommended to sit in direct sunlight for prolonged periods of time as it will dry out and fade
COURIER (LARGE ITEMS ONLY THAT CAN’T BE POSTED)
Absolutely nothing is sent for free, every item has a specific price for delivery, please ask for a quote before you bid and not after
Your invoice will be sent with zero balance in the delivery section, this is because all delivery fees are paid directly to the courier company to keep your costs down, if we charge you through ebay we have to add ebay and paypal fees, vat and other taxes to make sure the courier company are paid the exact amount they charge
We can arrange delivery nationwide, mostly with Wimbledon couriers, for Europe we use two reasonably priced professional companies that we trust, for the rest of the world it is location specific
Whoever delivers will always require help on the larger items to unload, the price you will be quoted will always be based on this assumption, if this is not possible please let us know as it will affect the price to send a two man team
Delivery is to the ground floor only, again if you need help upstairs or in flats etc that’s absolutely not a problem, the couriers charge £10-£20 per flight per man per item, if you have a working elevator then naturally there’s no additional fee
All courier fees are paid by yourself directly to the courier company, the contract for delivery is between yourselves the client and whichever courier you chose from those available I’m happy to accommodate your own courier after a cleared payment has been received, they need to book in a collection time with at least 24 hour’s notice, all collections must be made within 14 working days of the close of the auction unless agreed by prior arrangement
INTERNATIONAL DELIVERYS 2019
Delivery time can take two to three weeks depending on the courier’s routes for the above mentioned countries The price listed is just a guide, please contact us for a quote before buying, if you have your own courier or wish to book the collection in yourself we are happy to accommodate you