image of object
Liza and Michael Moses Photographic Archive, Yale University Art Gallery
Click the image to enlarge

Desk and bookcase


Object number

RIF1875

Maker

Maker: attributed to Ichabod Cole, 1748 - 1841

Dimensions

233.681 x 106.68 x 55.88 cm (92 x 42 x 22 in.)

Date

1785–1800

Current location

Private collection

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer linings, backboards); white pine (desk bottom; backing for the drawer dividers; vertical and horizontal blocks for the feet; rear feet brackets)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“i” through “iii,” in graphite, on interior fronts, sides, and backs of proper-right tier of interior drawers, from bottom to top; “x,” in graphite, on backs of those drawers; “VIII,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “i”; “VIV,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “ii”; “VV,” incised on top edges of drawer marked “iii”; all the “V”s point out; “i” to “iiii,” in graphite, on interior fronts, backs, and sides of prospect drawers, from bottom to top; “V,” incised, on top edges of prospect drawer marked “i”; “VI,” incised on top edges of prospect drawer marked “ii”; “VII,” incised, on top edges of prospect drawer marked “iii”; “VV,” incised, on top edges of prospect drawer maked “iiii”; “iiii” through “VI,” in graphite, on interior fronts, sides, and backs of proper-left tier of drawers from bottom to top; “VIII,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “iiii”; “VIV,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “V”; “VV,” incised on top edges of drawer marked “VI”; “i” and “ii,” in graphite on interior fronts, sides, and backs of drawers flanking the prospect door; “VI,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “I”; “V,” incised, on top edges of drawer marked “ii”; “IV,” “VII,” V,” “VV,” “VIV,” and “V V,” incised, on top edges of valance drawers from proper right to proper left; “I,” in graphite, on interior sides of exterior drawers; “V,” incised and pointing out, on top edges of exterior drawer sides

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

John S. Walton, New York, 1955. John S. Walton, Inc., New York, 1961. Ginsburg and Levy, New York; sold to Doris and Richard M. Seidlitz, Pound Ridge, New York; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 28–30, 1988, lot 1780. Private collection

Associated names

Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc.
Sotheby's
John S. Walton
John S. Walton, Inc.

Construction

BOOKCASE: The bonnet of the bookcase section is roofed with boards some of which are replaced. The side cornice moldings are one-piece. The backboards on the bookcase are vertical, half-lapped together and are nailed to rabbets in the sides and to the back edge of the bottom board and to the back edge of the top board, which is not visible from the back. A separate horizontal board encloses the back of the scrolled pediment. The board behind of the central plinth is two-piece. The glazed bookcase doors had curtains originally; the tenons for the doors are visible on the underside; each mortise and tenon joint has one pin. Each door is fastened to the case sides with two brass hinges; the hinges use two screws on the bookcase sides and three screws on the doors. Half-blind dovetails attach the bookcase shelves to the case sides. The bottom board of the bookcase is flush with the top of the desk. DESK INTERIOR: The battens on the slant lid have open tenons; three hinges attach the slant lid to the writing surface. The vertical dividers flanking the prospect have beaded edges. Half-blind dovetails attach the drawer fronts to the drawer sides with a half pin at the top and a half tail at the bottom. The grain of the drawer bottoms runs from side to side and the bottoms are glued to rabbets in the drawer sides; the kerf marks are average. The top edges of the drawer sides are rounded and the top edges of the drawer backs are square. Rectangular blocks glued to the drawer backs act are stops. The grain on the bottom of the valance drawers runs from front to back; the bottoms fit in a v-shaped groove in the drawer fronts and are glued to the other three sides. Half-blind dovetails fasten the fronts of the valance drawers to the sides with half pins at the top and bottom. The top edges of the sides are square. DESK CASE Half-blind dovetails fasten the desk top and two-piece bottom to the one-piece case sides; half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides as well as the top rail; the bottom rail fits in a groove in the case side. The joint of the bottom rail and the case bottom is reinforced with three long blocks below the lowest drawer. The three horizontal backboards are half-lapped to one another and are nailed to rabbets in the case sides and top and to the back edge of the bottom board with rosehead nails. The muntins flanking the lopers are dovetailed to the rail above and the drawer divider below; the lopers are full height and their front edges have quarter round moldings. The drawer runners that are nailed to the case sides are all replaced. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer fronts to the drawer sides with half pins are the top and bottom. The grain of the two-piece drawer bottoms runs from side to side; the bottoms are chamfered to fit in grooves in the front and sides and were nailed to the underside of the back with rosehead nails (now missing); the kerf marks are long. Vertical mill sawn marks are visible on the undersides of the drawers. The top edges of the drawer sides are rounded and are slightly lower than the drawer fronts; the top edges of the drawer backs are square. The brasses are replaced. The base moldings are nailed to the front and sides of the cases with four brads across the front and three brads on each side. The feet are reinforced with vertical glue blocks that rest against the case and horizontal blocks that abut them; the blocks are shaped to conform to the ogee shape of the feet. The brackets on the rear feet are angled on their inner faces and fit in slots cut in the sides of the rear feet. Examined by P. E. Kane, December 21, 2006.

See also


Bibliography

"John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 68, no. 4 (October 1955): 300, ill.
"John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 79, no. 4 (April 1961): 314, ill.
Felice Davis, "The American Connoisseur: A 'Young' Collector and American Antiques," Connoisseur 179, no. 721 (March 1972): 196, fig. 6 and 7.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 308, fig. 8.4.
Sotheby's, New York, Important American Furniture: The Collection of Doris and Richard M. Seidlitz, sale cat. (January 30, 1988), lot 1780, ill.
Patricia E. Kane, "Ichabod Cole: A Recently Discovered Rhode Island Furniture Maker," Antiques 172, no. 5 (May 2007): 116–17, fig. 7, 7a, 7b, 7c.