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Slant-front desk

Object number



Maker Unknown


42 × 38 3/8 × 19 7/8 in. (106.68 × 97.473 × 50.483 cm)


about 1783

Current location

Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh


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


Maple (primary); white pine (drawer bottoms on exterior drawers, case backboards, case bottom board); yellow poplar (sides of exterior and interior drawers, bottoms of interior drawers, vertical brace); chestnut (glue blocks on the interior between the front rail and bottom board, blocks for the feet)




"I" and "II," in chalk, on two lower interior drawers and on two upper drawers behind the prospect door; "X," in chalk, on undersides of two lower interior drawers; "X," incised, on underside of lowest drawer behind prospect door; "I" and "II" on some exterior drawers


Mrs. Thomas Robinson (née Jemima Fish, 1761–1846), Portsmouth, Rhode Island, and Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to her son Rowland T. Robinson (1796–1879), Ferrisburgh; Vermont; by descent to his son George G. Robinson (1825–1894), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to his brother Rowland E. Robinson (1833–1900), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; by descent to his wife Anna S. Robinson (1840–1920), Ferrisburgh, Vermont; given to the Rokeby Museum, Ferrisburgh, Vermont

Associated names

Jemima Fish Robinson
Rowland T. Robinson
George G. Robinson
Anna S. Robinson
Rowland E. Robinson


Half-blind dovetails fasten the two-piece case sides to the top with a half pin at the front, a half tail at the back, and seven full dovetails between them. The slant lid has batten with tenons exposed at the ends near the hinges; the lid is secured to the case with two hinges. The top rail and the drawer dividers fasten to the case sides with half blind dovetails; the lower rail fits in a rabbet or groove in the case sides. The bottoms of the interior drawers are glued to rabbets in the drawer sides. The grain of the two-piece bottoms of the exterior drawers runs from side to side; the bottoms, which retain vertical sawmill marks on their undersides, are chamfered to fit into groove son the front and sides; the bottom is fasten to the underside of the back with three rosehead nails; glue blocks reinforce the joint of the drawer sides and bottom. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer front to the drawer sides with a half pin at the top and a half tail at the bottom; the kerf marks on the interior front corners are very short. The top edges of the drawer sides are chamfered; the drawer sides are slightly lower than the drawer fronts. The three horizontal backboards and half-lapped together; they are reinforced on the interior with a vertical brace. The two-piece bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides; the base molding is attached to it with wooden pegs. Vertical blocks that rest against the underside of the case and horizontal blocks that abut them reinforce the feet; the rear brackets on the back feet have an angled inner outline. The interior of the drawer fronts are not countersunk to accommodate the nuts and posts for the brasses. Only the top exterior long drawer locks. Examined by P. E. Kane, May 25, 2008.