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Photo: Courtesy Christie's, New York
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Bureau table

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to John Goddard, American, 1723–1785
Maker, formerly attributed to Edmund Townsend, American, 1736/7–1811
Maker Unknown


32 1/4 36 1/2 19 7/8 in. (81.915 92.71 50.483 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (drawer linings), chestnut (subtop and associated blocks, kickboards for the top drawer, drawer dividers, back boards, bottom board, proper right rear bracket, sides of cupboard, and blocks for feet); cedar (shelves in cupboard)




"1" through "6," in graphite, on interior backs of small drawers and on top of each corresponding drawer divider; "1," in graphite, on interior back of long drawer and on top of corresponding drawer divider; "Top," in graphite, on interior proper-left side of case [at top front]


Captain John Tibbets (1737–1817), Warwick, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Hon. George Tibbits (1763–1849), Troy, New York, 1817; by descent to his son, George Mortimer Tibbits (1796–1878), 1849; by descent to his son, Charles Edward Dudlety Tibbits (1834–1924), 1878; by descent to his daughter, Sarah Bleecker Tibbits (1866–1947), 1924. Christies, New York, January 18–19, 2006, lot 593; sold to private collection

Associated names

Captain John Tibbits
Hon. George Tibbits
George Mortimer Tibbits
C. L. Prickett Antiques
Charles Edward Dudley Tibbits
Sarah Bleecker Tibbits
Tibbits family


TOP: The front and side edges of the top are ogee-molded and the back edge is flat and overhangs the backboards slightly. The top rail is dovetailed to the case sides. The top is secured to the case by rosehead nails from below into two longitudinal battens at the front and back that are dovetailed to the two-board case sides; the battens are reinforced with glue blocks. Chestnut stripes are nailed with rosehead nails to the two board sides about one inch below the battens. DRAWERS: The drawer dividers are dovetailed to the case sides and the vertical walls of the cupboard. The eleven-lobed shells are glued to the front of the wide drawer; the grain of the bottom of that drawer runs side to side; the bottom is fitted in a groove in the drawer front and is nailed to the sides and back; runners are added to the edges of the sides. Half pins at top and bottom and three full pins between fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides. The grain in the small drawers runs front to back; the bottoms fit in a rabbet in the drawer fronts and are nailed to all four sides with sprigs. Half pins at the top and bottom and three full pins between fasten the small drawer fronts to the drawer sides. The tops of the drawer sides are rounded and are almost flush with the drawer fronts; the tops of the drawer backs are flat. The interior backs of the drawers are flat and have toothing plane marks. CUPBOARD: The vertical sides of the cupboard are nailed through the case back; the two shelves have rounded front edges. The top and bottom rails on the door are rabbeted to the door sides. BASE: The bottom rail is dovetailed to the case sides. The one-board bottom is dovetailed to the case sides and is rabbeted at the back to accept the backboards that are nailed to it from the underside with countersunk rosehead nails. The front faces of the front feet are cut from one piece of wood. The vertical glue blocks for the feet rest against the case bottom and the horizontal blocks abut them; the brackets for the rear feet have an ogee outline, are nailed to the bottom board and fitted in slots in the rear side feet. The rear side feet extend beyond the backboards and a vertical glue block reinforces the joint of the bracket and side feet. BACK: The horizontal two-board backboard has a lap joint and is nailed with rosehead nails to rabbets in the case sides and bottom board, and to the subtop; the backboards have evidence of vertical mill sawing; the subtop is not visible from the back.


Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints, and Decoys, sale cat. (January 18–19, 2007), 314–15, lot 593, 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), 290n3.