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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF3383

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

41 x 42 3/4 x 23 in. (104.14 x 108.585 x 58.42 cm)

Date

1770–1790

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (exterior drawer sides, interior drawer linings, backing of drawer dividers); pine (bottoms of exterior drawers, backboards, bottom board, rear feet brackets)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Numbers in graphite on the underside of the bottoms of the interior drawers near the front. "2," "3," and "4" in graphite on the top surface of the drawer dividers. An illegible printed paper label is glued to the backboards.

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Hanson, Washington, D. C. prior to 2006; consigned by them to Sotheby's, New York, New York, January 20–22, 2006, lot 464; reoffered by Sotheby's, New York, New York, October 4, 2007, lot 122

Associated names

Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Hanson
Sotheby's

Construction

Half-blind dovetails fasten the top to the two piece case sides with half pin at the front, a half tail at the back, and nine full dovetails between them. The tails on the dovetails are very narrow and the back corner of the case side is deeper in depth. All the drawer runners are replaced. The three horizontal backboards are nailed to rabbets in the case sides and tops and to the back edge of the bottom board. The two piece bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. The tenons are exposed on the ends of the battens on the slant-front. Half-blind dovetails fasten the top rail and the drawer dividers to the case sides; the bottom rail fits in grooves in the case sides. A long rectangular glue block reinforces the joint of the bottom rail and the bottom board on the interior of the case below the lowest drawer. The muntins next to the lopers are dovetailed to the top rail above and to the bottom rails below. The lopers are full height and the front faces are outlined in quarter-round moldings. Half-blind dovetails fasten the fronts of the interior drawers to the drawer sides with half pins at the top and bottom; the dovetails have very small pins. The tops of the drawer sides are flat and almost flush with the drawer fronts. The bottoms of the interior drawers are let into rabbets in all four sides and are secured with nails and glue. On the exterior drawers half-blind dovetails secure the drawer fronts to the sides with half pins at the top and bottom; on the lowest drawer there four full dovetails between the half pins. The grain of the drawer bottoms runs from side to side; the bottoms are chamfered to fit in grooves in the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the drawer back; glue blocks reinforce the joint of the drawer bottom and drawer front. All the exterior drawers lock. The feet are braced with vertical quarter round blocks shaped at the bottom to conform to the ogee-bracket feet; the blocks rest on the case bottom and horizontal blocks abut them. On the back feet the rear bracket have angled inner faces and butt the sides of the back feet; at the rear a vertical block reinforces the joint of the rear brackets and the side feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and M. Taradash, January 19, 2006.

Bibliography

Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana: Including Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Hanson to Benefit the National Gallery of Art, sale cat. (January 20–22, 2006), 315, lot 464, ill.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, sale cat. (October 4, 2007), 106, lot 122, ill.