Antique Furniture/knechtal hutch
Here is the close up you requested,,,this wasn't sanded, it is just flaking off when anything rubs over it. The main body of hutch is mostly fine as is the shelf and carving on this upper piece
I understand that the finish wasnt sanded off, it has deteriorated and lost its plasticity, we sometimes refer to this as a dead or fried finish (technical terms...). I wanted to see if the grain pattern showing on the intact finish was the same as on the bare wood.
Reason; there was a technique called painted or false grain used on a lot of furniture made around 1890-1910. It was mostly used to replicate quarter sawn oak or as it is commonly called 'tiger oak'. The large stripes are called flakes and only appears with quarter sawn oak. It is presented by the way the lumber is cut and selected.
In your photo it does appear that this is false grained but the photo isnt quite close and clear enough for me to make out the grain pattern but I am confident I am correct that the wood is not oak or quartersawn oak. Probably birch or another similar wood that has a clearer and nondescript grain pattern that can be easily 'grained'.
You have two choices here if i recall you said the base was good (?).
You can tape off the mirror and spray the top with shellac, a couple of coats, to hold the remaining finish then buy artists colors and brushes and repaint the grain. it will not be easy but it is doable. Or, you can take a photo of the opposite side or where ever on the piece and make a water decal by putting the picture in the computer and using some type of water decal software maker. neither is easy but both can be fun.
not sure what the original question was so if i missed your specific question please do a followup question.