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Bureau table

Object number



Maker Unknown


32 35 1/2 19 1/2 in. (81.28 90.17 49.53 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (drawer bottoms, drawer supports); yellow poplar (drawer sides, top and sides of cupboard, and backing for top drawer divider); and chestnut (battens under top, bottom board, back boards, and backing for small drawer dividers)




"2," in graphite, on proper-right top small drawer; "4," in graphite, on lowest proper-right small drawer


Sold to the parents of Henry Brier, Philadelphia, ca. 1940; by inheritance to Henry Brier, Philadelphia; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 21, 22, and 25, 2010, lot 271

Associated names

Parents of Henry Brier
Henry Brier


The single board top is molded at the front and sides, overhangs the back of the case slightly and is supported by a beaded cove molding. It is attached to the case sides by means of dovetailed keyways. There are two longitudinal battens beneath the top, one at the front, the other at the back of the case. The two-board case sides are dovetailed to the three-board case bottom. Cock beading is nailed to the case sides at the drawer openings. The case back is comprised of two horizontal boards set into rabbets in the case sides and nailed thereto with rosehead nails and nailed with a single rosehead nail to the case bottom. The batten under the rear of the top is visible above the top of the backboards. Within the case are drawer guides affixed to the underside of the top battens and to the case sides. Drawer supports are attached to the outer and medial case sides with pegs and rosehead nails. There is a dustboard over the central cupboard section and a drawer support across the back of the case below the upper drawer. The top rail and drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed into the case side and medial stiles, cockbeaded from the solid and are nearly as deep as their backer boards. The joints between the upper drawer divider and side of the lower cases are covered as are those between the medial stiles, case sides and bottom rails. The drawers, seven in number, consist of a blocked and shell-carved long drawer and six convex small drawers. The tops of the drawer sides are rounded and slightly shy of the drawer fronts. There are long kerf marks on the inside of the drawer fronts. Drawer-back tops are flat with a slight chamfer. The long drawer bottom consists of two boards, parallel to the drawer front, chamfered and set into grooves at front and sides and attached to the drawer back with rosehead nails. The small-drawer bottoms are single boards perpendicular to the front and are similarly constructed. The central cupboard section contains two shelves fitted into grooves in the medial stiles. The shelves have rounded, applied front edges. The small-drawer fronts are carved from the solid and bear long kerf marks and signs of earlier brass hardware and locks. The long-drawer front is a single board whose central (concave) shell is carved from the solid (including a shaped reserve behind), and whose flanking (convex) shells are attached by means of a joint, covered by a strip nailed with brads to the drawer-front bottom. The base moldings and feet are of later date. Examined by P. E. Kane, J. S. Gordon, B. W. Colman, M. Taradash, January 21, 2010; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, and Chinese Export, sale cat. (January 21–22 and 25, 2010), lot 271, 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), 294nn3–4.