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Photo: Courtesy Newport Restoration Foundation, 2001.364
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF4385

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

105.093 x 99.06 x 55.245 cm (41 3/8 x 39 x 21 3/4 in.)

Date

1760–1780

Current location

Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (drawer bottoms [except where noted], board below desk interior, drawer divider backings, bottom and backboards of case, and loper blocks); yellow poplar (drawer sides and backs, bottom of prospect drawer, and drawer guides and supports)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“A[?],” in chalk, on proper-right interior side of proper-right interior drawer; illegible chalk, exterior back of prospect drawer, illegible chalk, exterior back of proper-left interior drawer; lumber marks, incised on interior case back; “SV[?],” inscribed on exterior case back

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Cornelius C. Moore (1885–1970), Newport, Rhode Island; consigned by his estate to Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, October 30, 1971, lot 75; sold to Doris Duke (1912–1993) for Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island, 1971; Whitehorne House Museum, Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island, from 1974

Associated names

Cornelius C. Moore
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc.
Doris Duke

Construction

The single-board case top is blind-dovetailed to the single-board case sides. The case back consists of three horizontal boards, half-lapped together and fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the case top and sides and directly to the case bottom. The lid, attached to the case with two pairs of brass hinges, is assembled in the "breadboard" manner, consisting of two small vertical boards joined by a large horizontal board, into which they are tenoned. The tenons are visible at the bottom of the lid when it is closed. In the center of the interior is a concave-blocked and shell-carved prospect door which opens to a pair of compartments with arched valances separated by a scalloped upright, above a concave-blocked small drawer. The drawer sits upon a rail, behind which are drawer supports and blocking, supporting a removable lid, making a hidden compartment. The door is flanked by beaded stiles and on each side, three compartments with arched valances, separated by scalloped uprights above straight-fronted small drawers. This central portion of the interior has a molded base. Beyond are stepped, open compartments bounded by scalloped uprights. The small-drawer fronts meet their arched-top sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins, with half-pins above. The tops of the fronts are slightly proud of the drawer-side tops. The tops of the drawer backs are flat. The drawer bottoms are glued into rabbets in the bottoms of the sides and backs. The drawer sides of the block-fronted drawer are nearly flush with their drawer-front tops. In the case below, the top and bottom rails, loper stiles, and drawer dividers meet their neighboring elements in blind joints. Strips of wood are nailed with brads to the front faces of the case sides. At the top of the case, in back, is a longitudinal batten, tenoned to the board, unfinished on its lower face, which forms the writing surface above. The upper drawer supports also support the lopers and their upright guides. Full-depth drawer supports (replaced) are nailed to the case sides with brads. There are three horizontal chamfered glue blocks behind the bottom rail. The four graduated, lipped, thumb-molded drawer fronts meet their sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The tops of the drawer sides are flat, with slightly chamfered edges, and just shy of the drawer front tops. The two-board drawer bottoms are parallel to the drawer fronts, and chamfered at the front, where they fit into the drawer front, and at the sides where they are covered by full-depth drawer runners. At the back they are nailed with brads to the flat-topped drawer backs. The top rear corner of the drawers is chamfered. The case?s base molding, the bottom face of which is flush with the case bottom, is fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners. The front feet consist of shaped vertical blocks attached directly to the case bottom, flanked by horizontal blocks, attached to the case bottom as well, the whole faced with ogee bracket feet. The rear feet are configured similarly, except for the back faces, which are simple, straight, serpentine brackets. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 28, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, Important American Furniture: Property from the Estate of the Late Cornelius C. Moore, sale cat. (October 30, 1971), 15, lot 75, ill.