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Photo: Courtesy The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wis., 1955.5; photo by Gavin Ashworth
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Bureau table


Object number

RIF959

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

32 1/2 37 20 3/4 in. (82.55 93.98 52.705 cm)

Date

1765–85

Current location

The Chipstone Foundation

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (backboard, side boards of the sub top, backs of most drawer dividers, bottom boards, and platform on underside of case [original?]); yellow poplar (compartment sides, top, and shelves and drawer sides and backs); maple (front and back boards of sub top); white pine (drawer bottoms and drawer runners); birch (back of drawer divider under proper-left middle drawer)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“A,” in chalk, on exterior back of upper drawer; illegible graphite, on interior bottom of upper drawer; “1”, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-right upper drawer; “1,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-right upper drawer; illegible chalk [probably “2”], on exterior back of proper-right middle drawer; “2,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-right middle drawer; “3”, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-right lower drawer; “3,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-right lower drawer; “A [faint],” in graphite, on top of drawer divider beneath proper-right upper drawer; "B [? faint],“ in graphite, on top of drawer divider under proper-right middle drawer;"C [faint],“ in graphite, on top of drawer divider under proper-right lower drawer; "4”, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-left upper drawer; “4,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-left upper drawer; “5”, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-left middle drawer; “5,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-left middle drawer; “6”, in chalk, on exterior back of proper-left lower drawer; “6,” in graphite, on interior back of proper-left lower drawer; “D,” in graphite, on top of drawer divider beneath proper-left upper drawer; “F,” in graphite, on top of drawer divider beneath proper-left middle drawer; arc, in chalk, on proper-right interior case side

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

By descent in the Bull family, Newport, Rhode Island. John S. Walton, New York; sold to Polly Mariner Stone (1898–1995) and Stanley Stone (1896–1987), Fox Point, Wisconsin; bequeathed by Stanley Stone to The Chipstone Foundation, Fox Point, Wisconsin, 1987

Associated names

Bull family
John S. Walton
Polly Mariner Stone
Stanley Stone

Construction

The rectangular single-board top is molded at its front and side edges and square at its back edge, where it slightly overhangs the case below. It is supported visually by a beaded molding attached to it by mostly invisible means and an occasional face-nailed brad. The molding extends beyond the case back at the rear corners to the edge of the overhanging top, where it returns upon itself. Two diagonally arranged blocks are glued to the underside of the top. Underneath the top, at the front and back of the case, are two longitudinal battens, each dovetailed to the two-board case sides and glued to the underside of the top. At the proper left end of the rear batten are two later screw pockets. The inside ends of the battens are cross-lapped to the lateral transverse battens, glued to the top and fixed to it with rosehead nails. In the underside of the top rail, which is set into grooves in the case sides, are rosehead and smaller nails fixing it to the top and the front longitudinal batten. Small (later) rectangular horizontal tip-bar blocks and their shims are glued into the front corners behind the top rail. The drawer dividers below are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides. Drawer supports (some replaced) are fixed with rosehead and other nails to the case sides. The horizontal cockbeading is integral with each drawer divider; the vertical cockbeading is applied. The two half-lapped horizontal backboards are fixed with rosehead nails to the longitudinal batten under the case top and to rabbets in the case sides. Two small rectangular chamfered-edged thin wood blocks are fixed with rosehead nails to the backboard?s outside faces. The convex flanking shells of the blockfronted frieze drawer are applied; the concave center shell is carved from the solid. On the frieze drawer?s inside face is a half-round convex reinforcing block behind the center shell. The kerf-marked, graduated, block-fronted drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter, arch-topped scribe-lined, arched-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The drawer bottoms are all perpendicular to the front. The frieze-drawer bottom consist of three boards; the small-drawer bottoms are each single boards. They are all chamfered at the fronts, where they fit into grooves, and sides, where they also fit into grooves in the full-height sides and are accompanied by runners fixed by brads and glue. The backs of the drawer bottoms and their neighboring runners are chamfered, as are the outside rear corners of the drawers and the ends of the drawer-back tops. The small-drawer bottoms, the rear edges of which are slightly chamfered, are each fixed to their backs with a single brad. The banks of small drawers flank a recessed cupboard containing two fixed, two-board shelves with rounded front edges. It is surrounded by applied cockbeading centering a hinged rectangular door whose rails are tenoned and wood-pinned to its stiles. The chamfered edges of the door?s arched panel fit into grooves in the molded edges of the frame. The ceiling of the recessed center is continuous with the cupboard roof. The single-piece base molding is fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners. Inward of the base molding is a frame slightly proud of the three-board case bottom. The feet (which may be old replacements) are attached to this frame and to the underside of the base molding and consist of shaped horizontal blocks mitered at each corner to which are attached shaped vertical blocks, the whole faced with blocked and scroll-carved ogee brackets. The rear-facing brackets of the back feet are simple straight-profiled incurvate brackets to the backs of which are attached ogee-shaped vertical blocks which align with the profile of the side brackets? rear faces. Inspected by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, May 16, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Stanley Stone, "Rhode Island Furniture at Chipstone, Part I," Antiques 91, no. 2 (February 1967): 207, ill.
Nancy A. Goyne, "The Bureau Table in America," Winterthur Portfolio III (1967): 34, ill.
Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, American Furniture at Chipstone (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1984), 46-47, no. 21, ill.
Luke Beckerdite and Alan Miller, "Furniture Fakes from the Chipstone Collection," American Furniture (2002): 54, fig. 1.