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Photo: Courtesy Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, N.H.
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF3421

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

114.3 x 97.79 x 53.34 cm (45 x 38 1/2 x 21 in.)

Date

1780-1800

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Probably made in Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); chestnut (drawer bottoms on exterior drawers, drawer backs on two exterior drawers, drawer bottoms on the interior drawers, backboards); white pine (drawer backs on two exterior drawers, case bottom); yellow poplar (drawer sides on exterior drawers, drawer sides and back on the interior drawers)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"1B," "2B," "3B," "4B," "5B," in chalk, on exterior of backs of lower tier of interior drawers from left to right; "1" to "4," in chalk, on exterior backs exterior drawers from bottom to top; in addition "X," in chalk, on bottom drawers; inverted "V" on two upper drawers

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Northeast Auctions, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 3–5, 2007, lot 988

Associated names

Northeast Auctions

Construction

Half-blind dovetails fasten the one-piece case sides to the top. The battens on the slant lid are not exposed on the ends near the hinges; the lid is secured with three hinges. Half-blind dovetails secure the interior drawer fronts to the sides; the drawer bottoms are let into grooves on the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back with two nails. The tops of the interior drawer edges are flat and flush with the drawer fronts. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides; the lower rail fits in grooves in the case sides. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides with cut nails; drawer stops are glued to the back interior corners of the case. On the exterior drawers half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer fronts to the drawer sides with a half-pin at the top and a half-tail at the bottom and three full dovetails between them. The grain of the two-piece drawer bottoms runs from side to side; the bottoms are chamfered and fit in grooves on the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back with five cut nails; the joints with the front and sides is secured with glue blocks. The two horizontal backboards are half-lapped to one another and are fastened with cut nails to rabbets in the top, sides and case bottom. The one-piece bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. The upper three exterior drawers lock. Examined by P. E. Kane, July 29, 2007.

Bibliography

Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, N.H., Summer Americana Auction, sale cat. (August 3–5, 2007), 36, lot 988.
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), 371n2.