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Bureau table

Object number



Maker Unknown


33 x 35 1/2 x 20 in. (83.82 x 90.17 x 50.8 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); mahogany (blocks on feet); yellow poplar (rear feet brackets, drawer linings, backing for drawer dividers, and drawer supports); birch (battens under top); and chestnut (bottom board, horizontal glue blocks, backing for top rail, and back boards)




"1," in graphite, on divider below proper right small drawer; "2," in graphite, on divider below proper right second from the top small drawer; "3," in graphite, on divider below proper left small drawer; "4," in graphite, on divider below proper left second from the top small drawer; "1" through "5" and "x," in graphite, on exterior backs of small drawers beginning at proper right and continuing to proper left; "4" through "1" and "x," in graphite, on exterior backs small drawers in cabinet from top to bottom; "I," incised, on exterior of large drawer back




John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., New York, 1976. Christie's, New York, June 22, 1994, lot 229. Christie's, New York, January 27, 1996, lot 246. Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., Sharon, Massachusetts, 2013

Associated names

John S. Walton Antiques, Inc.
Christie's New York
Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc.


The oblong, single-board top has molded side and front edges and is secured to the two-board case sides by means of key ways, whose dovetail profiles are visible at the case back. It is also secured by its attachment to two longitudinal battens on its underside?the rear batten blind-dovetailed to the case sides and glued to the underside of the top, the front is also blind-dovetailed to the case sides and joined with rosehead nails to the top. There are shadows of horizontal glue blocks at the joint between the case top and the rear batten, and there are three extant horizontal glue blocks at the joint between the top rail and the front batten. The case bottom consists of four boards, dovetailed to the case sides and attached with brads to the interior partitions and blocking. The case back consists of two horizontal lap-jointed boards fixed with rosehead nails to the batten under the top, to the case bottom, to interior partitions, and to rabbets in the case sides. Within the case at the back of the upper, long drawer is a deep drawer support set into grooves in the case sides. Below the battens under the top are full-depth boards fixed to the sides with rosehead nails, which prevent the upper drawer from tilting forward when open. The drawers below rest upon full-depth supports nailed with brads to the case sides and the interior partitions. Below the full-width upper drawer are two banks of graduated small drawers, all lipped and thumb-molded, centering a paneled door concealing four drawers. The top and bottom rails sit in grooves in the case sides. The drawer dividers join the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The inside stiles of the small-drawer banks join the drawer divider above in a blind joint. The upper drawer front joins its sides with dovetail joints having finely-cut, narrow-necked pins of slightly varying configurations, with half-pins above and below. The drawer sides have slightly arched tops, which are shy of their drawer front and appear to have once been full-depth and are now pieced. The multi-board drawer bottom, parallel to the front, is chamfered at the front, where it sits in a groove in the drawer front, and at the sides, where it was formerly accompanied by a full-depth runner glue block. The small drawers are constructed in a similar manner. The drawer fronts bear long and prominent kerf marks. The drawer sides have similar scribe lines at the front and back. The drawer bottoms are perpendicular to the front, and nailed to the drawer back with brads. Nailed with brads to the drawer bottoms and glued to both drawer sides and bottoms are full-depth drawer runners. Set back from the small-drawer banks is a paneled door opening to four graduated and concave-blocked small drawers. Above the upper drawer is a board which is chamfered at the end, where it fits into grooves in the case back, and which fits into grooves in the drawer support above and the rail above the prospect door. This board keeps the upper drawer from tipping forward. The interior drawers have guides and stops nailed to their full-depth dust boards, which are concave-blocked in front and fit into grooves in the interior partitions. The drawer fronts meet their arched-topped sides, of which they are slightly proud, in finely cut, narrow-necked dovetail joints, with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The drawer bottoms are glued into rabbets in the fronts, sides and backs. The stiles and rails which comprise the interior door frame are mitered at its corners and integrally cockbeaded. There is a square pin in the front face of the base molding. The front ogee bracket feet are suppored by vertical rectangular blocks fitted directly to the case bottom and flanked by carved horizontal glue blocks. The rear feet are similarly constructed, except for their back faces, which are square-edged ogee brackets set into grooves in the side faces. Examined by P.E. Kane and W.S. Braznell, January 24, 2013; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd


This bureau table is closely related to RIF785.


"John S. Walton, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 92, no. 3 (September 1967): 244, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 27, 1996), 129, lot 246, ill.
"Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 180, no. 4 (July–August 2013): 22, 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), 280n2.