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Photo: Courtesy The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Mich., 71.62.1
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Bureau table

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to John Goddard, American, 1723–1785
Maker Unknown
Maker, possibly by Daniel Goddard, born 1747


33 1/4 40 20 5/8 in. (84.46 101.6 52.39 cm)



Current location

The Henry Ford


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


Sabicu (primary); mahogany (vertical blocks of feet, some horizontal blocks of feet, and backing of drawer dividers [?]); cedar (drawer linings and cupboard shelves); chestnut (top of cabinet, some drawer supports, drawer guides, and platforms on underside of case along sides and around blocking); pine (backing of columns, case bottom, case back, sub-top, some drawer supports, original tip bar for upper drawer, cupboard sides, platform on underside of case behind center molding, platform on underside of case along outside rear edges, and original bracket of proper-right rear foot); yellow poplar (some drawer supports and some horizontal blocks of feet)




“3,” in graphite, on exterior bottom of proper-left middle drawer; “I” through “VI,” incised on tops of drawer dividers (from proper-right top to proper-left bottom)


J. K. Beard, Richmond, Virginia, before 1922; sold to John C. Toland, Baltimore, by 1922. T. C. Schneider and Co., Baltimore. Grace and F. L. Jennings, Baltimore; sold to The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan, 1971

Associated names

J. K. Beard
John C. Toland
T. C. Schneider and Co.


The rectangular, oblong top is molded on its front and side edges. A separate narrow strip across its back edge is joined to it with wood-filled fasteners, and overhangs in back. Beneath the top, face-nailed to the case, is a two-part molding, which also overhangs in back. The case top is joined to the tops of the case sides by means of dovetail-shaped transverse keyways visible at its back edge. Beneath the top is a longitudinally arranged sub-top, fixed to the upper top by invisible means. The case back consists of the five horizontal half-lapped boards fixed with rosehead and other nails to the back edge of the sub-top, to rabbets in the case sides, to the back edge of the case bottom, and to the back edges of interior partitions. Tip bars are fixed to the case sides beneath the sub-top. The joints between the top rail and the case sides are blind, as are the joints between the upper drawer divider and the medial partitions and those between the bottom rails and the case sides. The balance of the drawer dividers meet their respective case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The horizontal cockbeading at the drawer fronts is integral; the vertical cockbeading is glued, and occasionally nailed, in place. The bottom edge of the portion of the drawer divider which spans the recessed section is not cockbeaded. Within the upper portion of the case are drawer supports nailed with brads to the case sides and small vertical drawer stops nailed into the corners. Two shallow longitudinal sections of frieze drawer supports are half-lapped to the ceiling of the central cupboard section and to the frieze drawer?s lateral supports. At the front of the small-drawer cavities are large vertical blocks, coplanar with drawer guides, which are glued into place atop drawer supports fixed to the case sides and interior partitions with rosehead nails. At the back of the case are horizontal drawer stops aligned with the guides and resting on the supports. The portion of the drawer divider and dust-board above the central cupboard is nailed from above to the tops of its partitions. The convex-blocked flanking carved shells of the frieze drawer are applied; the concave center shell is carved from the solid. The inside face of the frieze drawer is straight across, save for a ressaulted central portion. This block appears to be a separate block, fixed with nails to the drawer front. The inside faces of the convex-blocked, graduated small drawers are concave. The frieze drawer front meets its slightly shorter, arch-topped sides (which flatten towards the back) in dovetail joints with finely cut, narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and rectangular pins below. Its multi-board drawer bottom, perpendicular to the front, is chamfered there, where it fits into a groove, and at the formerly full-height sides, where it is held in place by later runners. The bottom is nailed with brads to the bottom of the drawer back, whose upper portion is replaced. The small drawers are constructed similarly to the frieze drawer, with slightly irregularly spaced pins, and half-pins below. The drawer-back tops are flat. Each bank of small drawers is flanked by stop-fluted quarter columns consisting of separate abaci, capitals, stop-fluted shafts, bases, and plinths. The flutes, fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners, butt directly to the bottom of each capital. The banks of drawers flank a recessed cupboard having a cockbeaded surround above a concave-blocked bottom rail and a concave-blocked and shell carved, single-board hinged door opening to two shelves set into grooves in the interior partitions. A single-piece base molding is fixed by wood-filled fasteners to the case. The joints between the single-board case bottom and the case are concealed by a frame of chamfered boards. The boards are mitered at the front corners; some are fixed with rosehead nails to the case bottom. Four small rectangular, possibly later, boards are fixed to the bottom with screws ? two on the case bottom itself, and two on the boards of the frame. A section of quarter round molding below the recessed cupboard is fixed to the case with countersunk screws. The feet consist of vertical shaped blocks fixed directly to the frame, flanked by horizontal shaped blocks and faced with ogee brackets. The front faces of the front feet are gadroon, acanthus, and volute-carved, and convex-blocked. The back brackets of the rear feet are simple, straight-profiled ogee brackets set into grooves in the side-facing rear brackets, the back-facing edges of which have an ogee profile projecting beyond the plane of the case back. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, August 6, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


This bureau table is closely related to RIF678 and RIF794.

See also


Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 298, fig. 7.22.
"Little-Known Masterpieces, IX. A Knee-Hole Dresser Attributed to John Goddard," Antiques 2, no. 3 (September 1922): 111, fig. IX.
Mabel M. Swan, "Coastwise Cargoes of Venture Furniture," Antiques 55, no. 4 (April 1949): 278, fig. 1.
"The Editor's Attic," Antiques 23, no. 6 (June 1933): 205, fig. 7.
Edgar G. Miller, American Antique Furniture: A Book for Amateurs, 2 vols. (Baltimore: Lord Baltimore Press, 1937), vol. 1, pp. 494–95, no. 904.
Wallace Nutting, Furniture Treasury (New York: MacMillan Company, 1963), no. 627, ill.
Herbert Cescinsky, "The "Block-Front" in England," Antiques 4, no.4 (October 1923): 180, fig. 8.
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), 294nn3–4.