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breakfront

Breakfront library bookcase, carved mahogany with glazed doors, ca. 1760

Photo © Sotheby's (www.sothebys.com)

Definition: a squared central section of a piece of case furniture (usually a bookcase or cabinet) that juts forward, ahead of the two recessed sides; developed in the latter half of the 18th century, in keeping with the angularity of emerging Neo-Classical styles, such as Louis XVI and late Chippendale, it offset the newer, relatively plain surfaces

Associated With Designers: Thomas Sheraton, George Hepplewhite, Roger Vandercruse, Jean-Henri Riesener

Example: Though most often used as an adjective, as in "a rare Sheraton breakfront cabinet", "breakfront" sometimes refers to an article of furniture itself as in, "She kept her rare books in the breakfront in the library."

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