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


Object number

RIF4185

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

42 3/4 x 40 3/4 x 21 1/2 in. (108.59 x 103.51 x 54.61 cm)

Date

1770–1800

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (drawer linings, back boards, bottom board, backings of drawer dividers, blocks for feet)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"1 L D," in chalk, on exterior back of top drawer; "D [slash] 1 2 [superscript]," in chalk, on exterior back of second drawer from top; "4 1 [slash] D [upside down]," in chalk, on exterior back of third drawer from top; illegible chalk, on exterior back of bottom drawer; illegible chalk, on top of one drawer divider

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Sotheby's, New York, October 24, 1987, lot 516. Christie's, New York, September 25, 2008, lot 36

Associated names

Sotheby's
Christie's

Construction

The single-board top is connected to its single-board case sides with half-blind dovetail joints, having small, finely cut thick-necked pins, with half-pins in front. The case back consists of three half-lapped horizontal boards nailed with brads into rabbets in the case sides and top. The hinged top is assembeled in the ?breadboard? manner, having a large, horizontal board flanked by, and tenoned into, two narrow vertical boards. The tenons into the vertical boards are not visible. The interior consists of a concave-blocked prospect section containing three small drawers, the upper one fan-carved, flanked by valanced open compartments, above two small drawers and one long drawer. The interior drawer fronts meet their sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut thick-necked pins with half pins above. The drawer sides are flat-topped and flush with the tops of the drawer fronts. The bottoms are slightly chamfered at the front and sides, where they fit into grooves in the full-height sides, and flat at the back, where they are nailed with brads to the flat-topped drawer backs. There are full-depth dust boards between the drawers in the prospect section. The case contains full-depth drawer supports, with chamfered ends, fixed to the case sides, with vertical blocks acting as drawer stops in the rear corners. A vertical batten occupies the centerline at the rear of the case interior. The full-height lopers and graduated long drawers have plain fronts, surrounded by cock-beading integral with the drawer dividers and case sides. The long-drawer fronts meet thin flat-topped sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut, thick-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The drawer-side tops are slightly shy of their drawer fronts. The drawer bottoms are parallel to the fronts, the drawer sides are full-height, and there are prominent kerf marks inside the drawer fronts. The joints between the case sides and the top and bottom rails and the drawer dividers are covered by strips of wood. Connections between the two-board case bottom and the elements of the case above are obscured by blocking behind the base molding. Behind the bracket feet are vertical blocks attached to the underside of the blocking behind the base molding. Butted to them are horizontal glue blocks, which follow the outline of the outside bracket faces. At the back of the rear feet, the horizontal glue blocks are simple rectangles. The back faces are simple trapezoidal brackets, set into grooves in the side brackets and secured by vertical chamfered glue blocks. Examined by P.E. Kane, September 23, 2008; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd

Bibliography

Sotheby's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Folk Paintings, and Silver, sale cat. (October 24, 1987), lot 516.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Maritime Art, and Prints, sale cat. (September 25, 2008), 68, lot 36, ill.