Fun Furniture Fact: The Barrister Bookcase
The ‘barrister bookcase’ is a special storage piece that enters the Furnish Green showroom every once in a blue moon. It is well-loved and sought after because of its unique and very functional construction. While we at Furnish Green love these pieces as much as the next guy, we didn’t necessarily know the story behind their interesting shelf structure. Here’s what we found:
A barrister is a member of one of the classes of lawyers found in many common law jurisdictions with split legal professions. TheyÂ require the use of many law books and may frequently move to new chambers. As a result, a specialized formÂ of portable bookcase was developed to meet their needs.
A barrister’s bookcase consists of several separate shelf units that may be stacked together to form a cabinet. When moving chambers, each shelf is carried separately without needing to remove its contents and becomes a carrying-case full of books.Â As the shelves Â are meant to be separated, an “up and over” door mechanism is used on each shelf, allowing theÂ individual doors to pull up and slide in to display theÂ contents.
Each shelf of a true barrister’s bookcase must be portable with a heavy load of books. The more robust examples have folding handles at the ends of each shelf. Modern “decorator” copies of these may look the same, but are often too lightly constructed to be carried while loaded, or may even be a single fixed case likeÂ a normal bookcase, but with separate doors onÂ each shelf to give the appearance of a barrister’s bookcase.
Recently in the showroom (it has since sold) we hadÂ an industrial version of the classic Barrister. Check it out.
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