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Photo: Courtesy Newport Restoration Foundation, 2002.16
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF4407

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

104.14 x 106.045 x 64.77 cm (41 x 41 3/4 x 25 1/2 in.)

Date

1750–1770

Current location

Newport Restoration Foundation, Rhode Island

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany

Marks

Unknown

Inscriptions

"B," in chalk, inside a drawer back

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Possibly Cornelius C. Moore (1885–1993), Newport, Rhode Island. James E. Murphy, Warren, Rhode Island. Newport Restoration Foundation, by 2002

Associated names

Cornelius C. Moore
James E. Murphy

Construction

The single-board top is half-blind dovetailed to the single-board case sides. The lid, joined to the case with two pairs of brass hinges, is assembled in the "breadboard" manner, consisting of two narrow vertical boards tenoned into a large vertical board, the whole lipped and thumb-molded. It opens to an interior with a concave-blocked and shell-carved prospect door concealing three concave-blocked small drawers, flanked by beaded vertical dividers and by banks of three open compartments with scalloped dividers, each bank having three valanced and beaded quarter-spherically concave-blocked small drawers above and a single convex-blocked drawer below. Beyond are banks of three concave-blocked small drawers, the upper ones shell-carved. The shells bear traces of semi-circular scribe lines. The interior sits upon a molded base; before it is a sliding well cover with thumb-molded surround and a crescent-moon-shaped carved finger hold. The kerf-marked fronts of the interior drawers meet their scribe-lined arched-top drawer sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The drawer sides are shy of the fronts. The drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the fronts, are glued into rabbets in the elements above. The back edge of the drawer-back top is chamfered, and at the corners, rounded off to align with the drawer-side tops. The small-drawer sides meet their fronts in dovetail joints with a single thick-necked tail. The case back contains multiple horizontal half-lapped boards. The top rail and drawer dividers below are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. The loper vertical dividers and bottom rail are set into grooves in their neighboring members; the latter is backed up by several horizontal chamfered glueblocks. Within the case are loper supports with chamfered ends, fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails. Above, a large transverse board forms a base for the desk interior. The well-cover slides in grooves in transverse battens. The ends of the supports for the upper drawer are deeply chamfered, and fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails. The supports below are replaced. The upper drawer is fitted with a carved wood sliding lock mechanism. The graduated, lipped, thumb-molded, kerf-marked, drawer fronts, somewhat proud of their arched-top sides, meet them in dovetail joints with finely cut pins, with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The dovetail joints in the upper drawer are reinforced with nails. The drawer bottoms are flat, full-width and parallel to the fronts, where they fit into grooves. They are nailed to the sides with brads through applied runners. The drawer bottoms are nailed up into the backs with rosehead nails and brads. The drawer-back top and rear corners are handled in a manner similar to those in the desk interior. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 28, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.