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Slant-front desk

Object number



Maker Unknown



Current location

Private Collection


Made in Tiverton, Rhode Island, or possibly made in Little Compton, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Maple (primary); white pine (drawer linings, backboards, and drawer supports)




In graphite, on the underside of the proper left interior drawer: " Cornelius/ Macom/ ber"


Cornelius Macomber (born 1791), Westport, Massachusetts. Martha Freeman Sayles Nicholson (1896–1947) and Paul Coe Nicholson (1888–1956), Providence, and Bristol, Rhode Island, by about 1930; by descent to the present owners

Associated names

Cornelius Macomber
Paul C. Nicholson
Martha Freeman (Sayles) Nicholson


The case sides are two pieces of maple whose edges angle; they are dovetailed to the top. Four horizontal backboards butted together are fastened with rosehead nails to rabbets in the sides and top and to the back of the bottom board. The grain of the drawer bottoms on the exterior drawers runs from side to side; the two-piece bottoms are fitted to a groove in the drawer front and nailed to the sides and back; running strips are added to the sides. Half-blind dovetails with a half pin at the top and bottom fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides; the drawer sides are not as high as the drawer fronts. The top edges of the drawer sides are flat with a slight chamfer; the kerf marks on the drawer fronts are very short. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer dividers to the case sides. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides and have been turned. The muntins alongside the lopers are dovetailed to the top rail above and to the drawer divider below; the lopers are full height. The battens on the ends of the fall are fastened with three pins; open tenons are visible on the underside near the hinges. The bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. The straight bracket feet are one piece with the base molding and are attached to the case with t-headed nails. The rear brackets on the back feet are angled on their inner surface and are nailed to the underside of the bottom and lap over the back edge of the side feet. On the interior a central compartment pulls out to reveal a secret drawer in the back. The center compartment is flanked by two narrow pigeon holes and one wider pigeon hole with valances. The bottoms of the small drawers are butted to the drawer sides and back and are fastened with wooden pins driven from the outside. Examined by P. E. Kane, October 6, 2004