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Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1959.2114
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Desk-on-frame


Object number

RIF1436

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

Overall (Height): 91.758cm (36 1/8in.) Other (Height, writing surface): 72.073cm (28 3/8in.) Other (Height, case): 59.055cm (23 1/4in.) Other (Height, frame): 34.766cm (13 11/16in.) Other (Width, case): 60.96cm (24in.) Other (Width, frame): 66.04cm (26in.) Other (Width, feet): 66.04cm (26in.) Other (Depth, case): 29.845cm (11 3/4in.) Other (Depth, frame): 33.02cm (13in.) Other (Depth, feet): 33.02cm (13in.)

Date

1725–1750

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

Made in Rhode Island, or made in eastern Connecticut
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); white pine (bottom of top long drawer, sides of some long drawers); chestnut (bottom and sides of some long drawers); yellow pine (backboard); beech (front rail, blades)

Inscriptions

All the drawers in the desk have faint scratched numbers. "1" scratched inside the back and on top of the far left interior drawer. "C" on top of the second from left drawer front. "2' on back of the second from left interior drawer. "134" in graphite on the back of the second from left drawer. "3" scratched on top of second from right drawer front. "4" scratched on top, sides, and back of far right drawer

Style

Queen Anne

Provenance

Henry F. du Pont (1880–1969), Winterthur, Delaware; bequeathed to Winterthur Museum, 1969

Associated names

Henry Francis du Pont

Construction

The top and bottom boards are through-dovetailed to the sides; the bottom dovetails are concealed by a molding applied to the top edge of the base of the frame. The interior writing surface and the top two drawer blades are joined to the sides with exposed half dovetails. The bottommost blade is simply dadoed into the sides. The drawer runners are nailed to the case sides with two forged nails on each runner. The top drawer and loper runners are nailed at the side at the read, and the loper guides are nailed to the top of the runners with forged nails. The vertical loper blade is set into the leading edge of the interior writing surface and uppermost drawer blade with exposed dovetails. The four horizontal, lap-joined backboards (pine) are rabbeted to the top and sides and fastened with forged nails. The lipped drawer fronts have a quarter-round molded edge; the sides are dovetailed front and back. The bottom boards (three boards lap joined, grain running front to back) are chamfered on the bottom front and sides and fit into grooves on the sides and front. The bottom is nailed flush to the back of the drawer with five forged nails. The engraved brasses are secured with cotter pins and appear to be original. The top two drawers retain their original locks; there is no lock on the bottom drawer. The fall-front lid is lipped on three sides with a quarter-round molding. The sides of the interior drawers have one large dovetail front and back; the bottoms are nailed flush at back and rabbeted to the drawer sides and front. The shaped valances of the pigeonholes are glued in place and additionally secured with small blocks on their interior sides. The rails of the frame are mortised and tenoned to leg posts, and all joints are double-pinned. The lower edge of the front and side rails are cut with elaborate cyma-curve arches; the back rail is straight. A molding, mitered at the corners, is nailed to the top edge of the front and side rails of the frame. Source: Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 414.

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Bibliography

Joseph Downs, American Furniture: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods in the Henry Francis DuPont Winterthur Museum (New York: MacMillan Company, 1952), no. 216, ill.
Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 413-414, no. 197, ill.