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Photo: Courtesy Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, N.H.
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF503

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Height: 107.95 cm (42 1/2 in.); Width: 96.52 cm (38 in.)

Date

1760–1790

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Probably made in Mystic, Connecticut, Possibly made in Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); chestnut (linings of some interior drawers, backboards, bottom board); yellow poplar (linings of some interior drawers); white pine (linings of some interior drawers, and blocks for feet)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

An upward pointing "V" with the numbers "1" through "12" written within it in graphite on each exterior back and each of the front corners on the interior desk drawers beginning at the proper right with "5" and "6" above the drawer with "4" and "8" and "7" above the drawer with "9." An upward pointing "V" with the numbers "6" and "5" written in graphite on each exterior back and on the outside of the drawer sides near the front corners on the bottom two exterior drawers.

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Benjamin Babcock Hewitt (born 1811), Mystic, Connecticut; by descent to his son, Benjamin Pendleton Hewitt, Stonington, Connecticut; by descent to his son, Benjamin H. Hewitt (born 1884), North Stonington, and Mystic; by descent to his son Benjamin Attmore Hewitt (1921–2006), New Haven, Connecticut, and later Wakefield, Rhode Island; consigned by his estate to Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, October 28–29, 2006, lot 783

Associated names

Benjamin Babcock Hewitt
Benjamin Pendleton Hewitt
Benjamin H. Hewitt
Benjamin Attmore Hewitt
Northeast Auctions

Construction

Half-blind dovetails fasten the top to the two-piece case sides with a half pin at the front, a half tail at the rear and four full dovetails between them. The three horizontal backboards are chamfered to fit into grooves in the sides and top and are nailed to a rabbet in the bottom board. glue blocks reinforce the joints with the sides and top. Grooves for the desk interior are visible on the rear edges of the top and sides. Half-blind dovetails fasten the top rail and drawer dividers to the case sides. The muntins that flank the lopers fit in grooves in the top rail and drawer divider and are nailed through the drawer divider from the underside. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides with a half pin at the top, a half tail at the bottom and three full dovetails between them on the lowest drawer. The kerf marks on the interior front corners of the drawer are long and coarse. The grain of the two-piece drawer bottoms runs from side to side and the bottoms are chamfered to fit in grooves in the drawer front and side and are fastened to the underside of the back with two rosehead nails. The top edges of the drawer sides are flat and flush with the drawer fronts. The feet and base moldings are one piece. The feet are reinforced with vertical glue blocks that rest on horizontal glue blocks that rest against the base of the case. The brackets on the rear feet have angled inner faces and are fastened to the sides of the rear feet with a sliding dovetail; they are nailed to the underside of the bottom board on the inner edge. The battens on the fall have three pins securing the tenons that are visible on the interior and exterior; the tenons are not visible on the end of the batten near the hinge. The bottoms of the interior drawers fit in rabbets in the drawer sides are held in place with wooden pins driven from the sides. Examined by P. E. Kane, October 5, 2004.

Bibliography

Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, N.H., Fall New Hampshire Weekend Auction, sale cat. (October 28–29, 2006), 116, lot 783.