image of object
Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
Click the image to enlarge

Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF329

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

107.95 x 100.33 x 52.07 cm (42 1/2 x 39 1/2 x 20 1/2 in.)

Date

1790–1810

Current location

Unknown

Geography

Possibly made in Providence, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Cherry (primary); chestnut (backboards, exterior drawer linings, and some interior drawer linings); white pine (vertical brace, bottom board, lowest drawer supports, some interior drawer linings, and blocks for the feet), maple (drawer supports)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"Baker," in chalk, on underside of second from top exterior drawer; "A" and "B," in chalk, on interior side front corners and interior back of two upper proper-right interior drawers; "A," "B," and "C," in chalk, in same locations on prospect drawers; "C" and "D," in chalk, in same locations on upper two proper-left interior drawers; "A" and "B" on lower interior drawers flanking the prospect door

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Leigh Keno American Antiques, New York, 2005. Sotheby's, New York, January 20–22, 2006, lot 558

Associated names

Leigh Keno American Antiques

Construction

The tenons on the battens of the slant lid are not exposed at either end; the slant lid is attached to the writing surface with two brass hinges. The interior drawer fronts are dovetailed to the drawer sides with half-blind dovetails with half keys at the top and bottom; the bottoms of the drawers are glued in rabbets in all four sides. The small interior drawers have horizontal stops glued to the backs and the long interior drawers have vertical stops. The three horizontal backboards are half-lapped to one another and are fastened with cut nails to rabbets in the top and sides and to the back edge of the bottom board. The backboards are reinforced with a vertical brace that pierces the bottom board and is nailed to the backboards from the inside. The two-piece bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides The joints of the drawer dividers and the case sides are covered with a continuous strip with cockbeading at the drawer openings. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides with cut nails. On the exterior drawers half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides with half keys at the top and bottom. The grain of the drawer bottoms run from side to side. The bottoms are chamfered and fit into grooves in the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back with four cut nails. The joint of the drawer bottoms and sides is reinforced with a continuous strip of glue blocks. The top edges of the drawer sides are flat and are virtually flush with the top of the drawer fronts; the kerf marks are short and wide. The joint of the bottom rail and the case bottom is reinforced with three glue blocks along the interior front. Wooden caps cover the nails holding the base moldings in place.The feet are reinforced with vertical blocks that rest against the bottom of the case; horizontal blocks with chamfered edges abut them. The rear brackets on the back feet are rabbeted to fit in a groove in the sides of the rear feet.The brasses are replaced; the interior appears to retain its original red stain. Examined by P. E. Kane, June 23, 2005.

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), 414, lot 558.