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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Butler's desk and bookcase

Object number



Maker James Halyburton, active 1790 to at least 1823


110 × 49 1/2 × 22 1/2 in. (279.401 × 125.73 × 57.15 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); cherry (bookcase interior backboards, shelves, and dividers); white pine (drawer linings exterior drawers); yellow poplar (one exterior drawer bottom); red cedar (interior drawer linings); chestnut (desk backboards)


"J Halyburton," in graphite, on underside of bottom drawer behind prospect door




Thomas Poynton Ives (1769–1835), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Moses Brown Ives (1794–1857), Providence; by descent to his daughter, Mrs. Henry Grinnell Russell (née Hope Brown Ives, 1839–1909), Providence; by descent to her cousin, R. H. Ives Goddard, Providence; by descent to his wife, Mrs. R. H. Ives Goddard, Providence; by descent to her grandchildren; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 22, 2005, lot 841

Associated names

Thomas Poynton Ives
Moses Brown Ives
Hope Brown Ives
Robert Hale Ives Goddard
Mrs. Robert Hale Ives Goddard


The bookcase backboards are horizontal. The bottoms of the interior drawers are glued to rabbets on all four sides. The joint of the drawer dividers with the case sides is covered with a facing strip. The edges of the exterior drawers have applied cockbead moldings. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides. The grain of the wood on the one-piece drawer bottoms runs from side to side; the bottoms are let into grooves in the front and sides and are nailed to the underside of the back with brads. Running strips are applied along the side edges and glue blocks reinforce the joints of the bottom to the front and sides. The joint of the one-piece bottom board and the front rail is reinforced with four glue blocks across the front. Examined by P. E. Kane, January 20, 2005.


The name "J. Halyburton" written on the underside of one of the prospect drawers is probably the cabinetmaker James Halyburton, who is known to have worked in Warren, Rhode Island, in the 1790s and later in Providence.

See also


Barbara Snow, "Living with Antiques: The Providence Home of Mrs. R.H. Ives Goddard," Antiques 87, no. 5 (May 1965): 584, ill.
Wendy A. Cooper and Tara L. Gleason, "A Different Rhode Island Block-and-Shell Story: Providence Provenances and Pitch-Pediments," American Furniture (1999): 178, fig. 14.
Sotheby's, New York, Property of the Goddard Family, sale cat. (January 22, 2005), lot 841, 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), 322nn2, 4, 429n6.