image of object
From: Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend, Newport Cabinetmaker (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 161, cat. no. 39
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Desk and bookcase

Object number



Maker: attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732–1809


Overall: 248.921 x 101.6 x 57.15cm (98 x 40 x 22 1/2in.)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); mahogany and yellow poplar (secondary)


"A, B, C, D" in chalk on the outside backboards of large drawers, beginning at the top




Jonathan Nichols (1700–1774), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to Walter Nichols (1748–1823), Newport; by descent to William Stoddard Nichols (1785–1871), Newport; by descent to his son, Thomas Pitman Nicholas (1816–1897), Newport; by descent to his son, Othniel Foster Nichols (1845–1908), Brooklyn, New York; by descent to a seventh-generation descendant; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1972

Associated names

Jonathan Nichols
William Stoddard Nichols
Thomas Pitman Nichols
Othniel Foster Nichols
Nichols Family
Israel Sack, Inc.


American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 4, pp. 915–917, no. P3555, ill.; vol. 8, p. 2145, ill.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 102, no. 1 (July 1972): inside cover, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 173–174, fig. 3.96, 3.96a, 3.96b.
Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 167, Masterpiece, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 2005), 134–35, no. 29, ill.