image of object
Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1958.1799
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF881

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

103.19 x 88.9 x 48.74 cm (40 5/8 x 35 x 19 3/16 in.)

Date

1710–1725

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

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

Medium

Walnut ( veneers and drawer dividers in interior compartment); mahogany (bottom molding [a replacement]); soft maple (central interior door, feet, turned pulls on interior drawers, and case sides); chestnut (sides, backs and bottoms of all original drawers, fronts of prospect drawers, original drawer runners, backboards, bottom of case, four blocks into which the feet are tenoned, and glueblock on exterior case bottom); white pine (fronts of the lower drawers, drawer supports, drawer stops, drawer dividers, bottom of false drawer compartment, desktop visible beneath the interior compartment, and top of case)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“X,” incised on exterior back of exterior drawers; “V,” incised on top edge of exterior drawer sides; “IX,” incised on top edge of upper exterior drawer back; “IV,” incised on top edge of middle exterior drawer back; “V,” incised on top edge of lower exterior drawer back; “II,” incised on exterior back of proper-right interior drawer; “I,” incised on top edges of sides of proper-right interior drawer; “II[?],” incised on top edge of back of proper-right interior drawer; “I,” incised on exterior back and bottom of interior drawer to proper-right of prospect; “Old Joad Place/ No Smithfield/ RI," in graphite, on exterior bottom of interior drawer to proper-right of prospect; “I,” incised on top edges of sides and back of interior drawer to proper-right of prospect; “I,” incised on top edges of sides of interior drawer to proper-left of prospect; “II,” incised on top edge of back of interior drawer to proper-left of prospect; “I,” “II,” and “III,” incised on exterior backs [except drawer marked “II”] and exterior bottoms of prospect drawers [top to bottom]; “2[later?],” in graphite, on exterior bottom of upper prospect drawer; “I,” incised on top of upper prospect drawer front; “II,” incised on top of middle prospect drawer front; “I,” incised on edges of sides [near front] of prospect drawers; "HOBBS&CO / LONDON," "LEVER," and "MACHINE / MADE" stamped onto end of brass lock on fall front (a replacement)

Style

William and Mary

Provenance

Henry F. du Pont (1880–1969), Winterthur, Delaware, before 1929; given to Winterthur Museum, 1958

Associated names

Henry Francis du Pont

Construction

The object has been repaired and refurbished: the veneers on the top are replaced (perhaps in the late nineteenth or early twentieth centuries) as are the shaped valances of the slots in the interior compartment; the proper left interior drawer is a total replacement, its veneer being similar to that on the top; double-bead molding replaced throughout; bottom molding is a replacement; drawer blades have been flipped as evidenced by wear on both the top and bottom; two drawer stops have been replaced and probably tow runners also on one side; one foot has wear on the bottom which is inconsistent with the other three; turning marks visible on all feet; braces have been added to keep the lopers in place and are attached with machined screws through the bottom board of the false drawer compartment; this indicates that the back boards had been removed to allow these newer boards to be slid into place; the chestnut backboards have strong oxidation and staining on both sides; the color of the inside of the boards is inconsistent with the rest of the interior of the drawer compartment; also, holes and staining left by large, wrought nails (now lost) on the ends of the backboards do no always correspond to holes in the rabbets of the case sides; this is further evidence that the backboards have been disturbed and very likely that they were reused from something else; likewise, some of the backboards are slightly too short for the width of the back of the case; there are some fills in the veneers of the drawer fronts and the upper false front indicating at least three rounds of brasses, including the set currently there. Examined by Wendy Cooper and Dennis Carr, December 15, 2004.

Bibliography

Loan Exhibition of Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth-Century Furniture and Glass, exh. cat. (New York: American Art Galleries, 1929), n.p., no. 505, 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), 162–164, no. 12, fig. 1.