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Photo: Courtesy Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, Bequest of Charles L. Pendleton. 04.051; photo by Erik Gould
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Bureau table


Object number

RIF689

Maker

Maker, attributed to Edmund Townsend, American, 1736/7–1811

Dimensions

33 11/16 36 1/2 19 1/2 in. (85.57 92.71 49.53 cm)

Date

1780–1800

Current location

Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer bottoms, drawer divider backings, cabinet sides, longitudinal battens under top, glue blocks under top, rear support for large drawer, supports for lower small drawers, and case bottom and backboards); cottonwood(?) (drawer sides and backs, cabinet top, and supports for upper two small drawers); pine (sides of large drawer and glue blocks on underside of case); cedar (shelves of cabinet)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Illegible inscription, in chalk, on exterior bottom of long drawer; loops, in chalk, on undersides of small drawers; "1" through "6," in graphite, on tops of dividers under small drawers (from proper-right upper to proper-left lower); possibly “3,” in chalk, on interior proper-left side (at front) of upper and middle proper-right small drawers; “4,” in chalk, on interior proper-right side (at rear) of upper and middle proper-right small drawers; “3,” in chalk, on interior proper-right side (at rear) of upper and middle proper-right small drawers; “1,” in chalk, on interior proper -left side (at front) of upper and middle proper-left small drawers; “2,” in chalk, interior proper-right side (at front) of upper and middle proper-left small drawers; “3,” in chalk, on interior proper-right side (at rear) of upper and middle proper-left small drawers; “4,” in chalk, on interior proper-left side (at rear) and on interior back (at left) of upper and middle proper-left small drawers; “1,” in chalk, on interior proper-left side (at front) of lower proper-left small drawer; “3,” in chalk, on interior proper-left side (at rear) and on interior back (at left) of lower proper-left small drawer; illegible chalk, on interior back (at center) of lower proper-left small drawer

Provenance

Charles L. Pendleton (1846–1904), Providence, Rhode Island, before 1904; bequeathed to the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, 1904

Associated names

Charles L. Pendleton

Construction

The rectangular, oblong, single-board top is molded on the front and sides and square at its back, where it overhangs the case. The beaded cove molding beneath it is face-nailed to the case and slightly overhangs the case back. Underneath the top are longitudinal battens, presumably dovetailed to the tops of the case sides. The top is fixed to the battens through their undersides with countersunk rosehead nails and screws. The ends of the battens are rabbeted to receive narrow transverse blocks fixed to the top with countersunk rosehead nails. Two rectilinear glue blocks accompany the inside edge of the rear batten. Under the front batten are longitudinal blocks glued to it and to the case?s top rail, which is nailed with brads to the top. Replaced tip bars are nailed and glued to the case sides; the proper right one is rabbeted to fit around the glue blocks behind the top rail. The case back consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards fixed with rosehead nails into a rabbet in the rear batten below the top, into rabbets in the single-board case sides, and into the back edge of the single-board case bottom (which meets the case sides in dovetail joints having finely cut, thick-necked pins), and rosehead nails fixed to the bottoms of the case?s interior partitions. The joints between the case sides and top rail are concealed; the drawer dividers and bottom rail are dovetailed to the case sides. The frieze drawer is supported by a horizontal board at the back of the case set into grooves in the sides, and rabbeted where it is supported by the case?s interior partitions. There are drawer supports (the proper left is missing) fixed with rosehead nails into grooves in the case sides. A partial ?ceiling? for the recessed central section of the case is nailed to the tops of the interior partitions, and to the drawer divider in front. The drawer supports below are fixed with rosehead nails to the case sides and interior partitions. The drawer dividers? cockbeading appears to be integral; the vertical cockbeading is glued in place. The flanking convex shells of the frieze drawer are applied. Its kerf-marked drawer front meets its slightly shorter, scribe-lined, arched-top sides in dovetail joints having finely cut, narrow-necked, slender pins, with half-pins above and below. The drawer-side tops are flatter at the rear, eventually aligning with the flat-topped drawer blocks. The full-width drawer bottom, parallel to the front, is slightly chamfered there, where it fits into a groove, and at the sides, where it has full-depth applied runners nailed on with brads. The convex-blocked fronts of the graduated small drawers below are kerf-marked, incurvate within, and meet their somewhat shorter, arched top, scribe-lined sides in dovetail joints having larger pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The single-board drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the front, are very slightly chamfered at the sides, to which are nailed with brads full-depth runners with chamfered ends. The bottoms are also nailed with brads to the drawer backs, whose tops have rounded outside corners aligning them with the drawer sides? tops. The banks of drawers flank a recessed cupboard with a cockbeaded frame nailed on with brads enclosing a paneled door opening to fixed shelves set into grooves in the partitions? walls. The door?s stiles and rails are tenoned together and enclose an arched, fielded panel. A single-piece base molding is fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners. The feet consist of horizontal (some replaced) and vertical shaped blocks (some replaced), each assembly faced with ogee brackets. At some corners the vertical blocks are attached directly to the case bottom, at some the verticals are attached to the horizontals. Some ogee brackets are repaired, some replaced. The (replaced) back brackets of the rear feet are simple, straight-profiled incurvate boards set into grooves in the side-facing outer faces of the rear feet. The back-facing edges of the rear feet?s outside brackets have an ogee profile, projecting beyond the plane of the case back. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, April 27, 2015; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Luke Vincent Lockwood, The Pendleton Collection (Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1904), 229, pl. 228, ill.
Luke Vincent Lockwood, Colonial Furniture in America, 3rd ed., 2 vols. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1926), vol. 1, pp. 123–124, fig. 121.
"Bulletin," Bulletin of the Rhode Island School of Design 22 (October 1934): 60.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640–1820 (Newport, R.I.: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 66, no. 40, Detail, p. 203, Supplement 40, ill.
Hedy B. Landman, "The Pendleton House at the Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design," Antiques 107, no. 5 (May 1975): 931, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 286, fig. 7.13.
Christopher P. Monkhouse and Thomas S. Michie, American Furniture in Pendleton House (Providence: Museum of Art, Rhode Island School of Design, 1986), 85, no. 31, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints, and Decoys, sale cat. (January 18–19, 2007), 316, fig. 2.