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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Desk and bookcase


Object number

RIF504

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

94 x 40 3/4 x 24 3/4 in. (238.76 x 103.51 x 62.87 cm)

Date

1780–1800

Current location

Private collection

Geography

Made in Providence, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer bottoms and some interior drawer sides); white pine (drawer sides, some interior drawer sides, backing for drawer dividers, and blocks for feet); yellow poplar (bottom of desk and bookcase, backboards desk and bookcase)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"Moses Ives," vertically in chalk, on backboard of bookcase; "B," in chalk, on underside of bottom board on bookcase; “Bottom,” in chalk, on interior bottom; "A" through "C," in graphite, on drawer dividers [top to bottom]; "A" through "C," in graphite, on interior drawer backs [top to bottom]; "A," in graphite, on interior back of upper drawer; possibly "2," in graphite, on interior of proper-right side of upper drawer [at rear corner] [blocks on back corners may conceal additional graphite]; "B," in graphite, on interior of back of second drawer from top; flourish, in graphite, on interior proper-left side of second drawer from top [at front left corner]; "4," in graphite, on interior drawer front of second drawer from top [at proper-left corner]; "2" in graphite, on interior proper-right side and interior front of second drawer from top [at front right corner]; flourish [possibly "2"] on proper-right interior side of second drawer from top [at front corner]; "3," in graphite, on interior proper-left side and exterior back of second drawer from top [at left rear corner]; "/," on interior proper-right side and exterior back of second drawer from top [at right rear corner]; "C," in graphite, on interior of back of third drawer from top; "III," and script [possibly 1], in graphite, in interior proper-right side of third drawer from top [at front corner]; "II," in graphite, on interior proper-left side and back of third drawer from top [at rear left corner]; "I," and script [possibly 1], in graphite, in interior proper-left side of third drawer from top [at front corner]; "X," in graphite, on interior proper-right side and back of third drawer from top [at rear right corner]

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Moses Brown Ives (1794–1857), Providence, Rhode Island; thence by descent in his family; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 18–21, 2018, lot 834 (unsold)

Associated names

Moses Brown Ives
Sotheby's

Construction

The drawer bottoms are two tapered boards that run side to side and are fitted into rabets in the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back. glue blocks on the underside of the drawer reinforce the joints at the front and sides.The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides. The drawer dividers are dovetailed to the case sides and some of the drawer dividers are backed with wany boards. The bookcase back are three vertical boards lapped to one another. The boards are fitted to rabets in the case sides and top and rest on top of the bookcase bottom. The two horizontal backboards of the desk are lapped to one another and are nailed to rabets in the case sides and top and to the back of the desk bottom. Two horizontal boards back the pediment. The ogee bracket feet are glued to the case bottom as are the horizontal blocks for each foot; the vertical blocks rest on top of the horizontal blocks. The back of the rear feet are boards with a serpentine outline that fit in a slot in the sides of the rear feet. Examined by P. E. Kane, October 6, 2004

Bibliography

Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, sale cat. (January 18–21, 2018), vol. 2, pp. 96–97, lot 834, ill.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 243n1.