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Bureau table

Object number



Maker, possibly by John Goddard, American, 1723–1785
Maker Unknown


31 1/2 × 35 1/4 × 19 1/2 in. (80.01 × 89.535 × 49.53 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (battens and their glue blocks, dustboard under the wide drawer, bottom board, backboards, and horizontal feet blocks); yellow poplar (drawer sides); white pine (drawer bottoms)




"Made the/pea [piece?] 7 of May," in graphite, proper left center drawer. "1," "2," "3," "4," "5," and "6," in graphite, on interior back of small drawers, at corresponding interior front corners of drawer sides of each drawer, and on corresponding drawer dividers


By tradition John Goddard (1724–1785), Newport, Rhode Island, for his daughter Mrs. Perry Weaver (née Catherine Goddard, 1757–1816), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her son, Benjamin Weaver (1781–1863), 1816; by descent to his wife, Hannah Spooner Briggs Weaver; by descent to her sister, Deborah Briggs (1787–1856); by descent to her niece, Mary Briggs Weaver Case, 1856; sold to George E. Vernon and Company, Newport, Rhode Island, 1921; sold to Mr. and Mrs. John Nichols Brown, Providence, Rhode Island, 1924; by descent in the family, until 2005; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 20–21, and 23, 2005, lot 1203. Private collection; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 21, 2011, lot 92

Associated names

John Nicholas Brown
Catharine Goddard Weaver
Benjamin Weaver
Deborah Briggs
Mary Briggs Weaver Case
Hannah Briggs Perry
Mary Briggs Weaver
Descendants of John Nicholas Brown


TOP: The top has ogee molding on the front and sides and is flat on the back, which is flush with back. The top is nailed and screwed from below to a subtop of two longitundinal battens dovetailed to the tops of the case sides; glue blocks reinforce the joints of the battens to the front rail and the top, as well as between the battens along the sides of the case; chestnut braces run below the battens between the front rail and the back of the case at the sides. Below the top an ogee molding is glued to the front of the top rail, which is dovetailed into the case sides; the moldings on the sides of the case are nailed in place. DRAWERS: The drawer dividers are dovetailed to the one-board case sides and to the verticals that form the cupboard and are backed with yellow poplar or white pine. The eleven-lobed shells are glued and screwed to the front drawer, which is otherwise cut from the solid. The interior of the wide drawer is flat and the grain of the bottom board runs side to side and is secured to the drawer back with six t-headed sprigs.The top edges of the drawer sides are rounded and are flush with the drawer fronts, and the top edges of the drawer backs are flat with a slight chamfer at the back. The grain of the bottoms of the small drawers runs from front to back; the bottoms are nailed to the sides. CUPBOARD: The vertical boards of the cupboard are butted to the wide drawer dustboard and are nailed in place from the dustboard and from the back. The cupboard contains two fixed shelves with rounded front edges. BACKBOARDS: The two-board back has a lap joint with the rabet cut in the bottom board that the top board butts. The boards are fastened to the rabets in the sides, to the subtop, and to the edge of the bottom board with rosehead nails--four across the top and bottom and six down each side. BASE: The moldings are nailed to the one-piece bottom board on the front and to the case sides; the bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. Each of the front ogee-bracket feet are cut from one piece of wood. The vertical blocks on the feet rest on the case bottom and the horizontal blocks abut them. The bracket on the rear feet has an ogee outline and is nailed to the case bottom and is rabeted to fit a slot on the side feet. The side feet are flush with the case back and the joints of the brackets and side feet are reinforced with a vertical glue block at the back. A molding between the front and rear feet, below the ogee-molding on the case sides, is nailed to the underside of the bottom. Examined by P. E. Kane on January 19, 2005.


Family history label affixed to top drawer


Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana including Property of Descendants of John Nicholas Brown, sale cat. (January 20–21, 23, 2005), 322–27, lot 1203, ill.
"Four Centuries of Furniture with Flowers," Antiques 50, no. 1 (July 1946): 33, ill.
Walter A. Dyer, "John Goddard and His Block Fronts," Antiques 1, no. 5 (May 1922): 203, ill.
"Three Days of Americana Week Sales at Sotheby's Yield Results of $14.4 Million," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (January 28, 2011): 30, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, English Pottery, Rugs, and Prints, sale cat. (January 21, 2011), 86–87, lot 92, ill.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana from the Collection of Diane and Norman Bernstein, The Lindens, Washington, D.C., sale cat. (January 22, 2006), 172, ill.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 284n1, 290n3.