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Photo: Courtesy Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, N.H.
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF4714

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

41 1/2 43 in. (105.4 109.2 cm)

Date

1760–80

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); cedar (interior drawer linings); chestnut (exterior drawer linings, drawer supports, and bottom board; pine (back boards, vertical brace, and rear brackets)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

Multiple marks, (including "8") mostly illegible, in chalk, inside interior drawer sides and backs

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Duncan A. Hazard (1874-1939), Newport, Rhode Island. Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, New Hampshire (sale held Manchester, New Hampshire), August 6–8, 2010, lot 868

Associated names

Duncan A. Hazard
Northeast Auctions

Construction

The single-board top is joined to the single-board sides by half-blind dovetails having finely cut, narrow-necked pins, with half-pins at the front and back. The hinged lid is constructed in the "breadboard" manner, consisting of three pieces?a large horizontal board tenoned into narrow vertical end-boards, the whole lipped and thumbmolded. The large-board tenon is visible at the bottom of the flanking boards. The interior consists of a concave-blocked and shell-carved prospect door flanked by cockbeaded stiles, in turn flanked by banks of concave-blocked, valanced small drawers above open compartments separated by scalloped uprights, over convex-blocked drawers, flanked by banks of concave-blocked drawers, the upper shell-carved, above a molded base. Each shell is set within an incised half-circle. The interior drawer fronts are chamfered at the back and join their drawer sides with large, finely cut dovetails with narrow-necked pins, with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The tops of the drawer sides are arched and slightly shy of the drawer fronts, which bear prominent kerf marks. The single-board drawer bottoms are flat, perpendicular to the fronts, glued in rabbets to the front, and glued (and occasionally nailed) to the sides and backs. The case back consists of two horizontal boards, half-lapped together, fixed with rosehead nails to rabbets in the case sides and top and directly to the two-board case bottom, which is joined to the case sides with dovetails and to the bottom rail of the case with brads. At the vertical centerline of the case back are rosehead nails joined to a vertical brace inside the case. The case back also contains rosehead and other nails (and later screws) joining it to the writing surface and stiles of the interior. Within the case are half-height, thumb-molded lopers and four lipped, thumb-molded and graduated long drawers. The drawers and lopers move on supports, with incurvate ends, joined to the case sides with rosehead nails with grooves below. The drawer side tops are slightly arched and nearly flush with the tops of the drawer fronts. The inside of the drawer fronts bear prominent kerf marks, as well as prominent planing marks. The drawer bottoms are parallel to their fronts, into which they fit in grooves, and they have applied runners. The tops of the drawer backs are flat, and the top of the corners where they join the sides is slightly rounded. The top rail, the drawer dividers and the stiles and rails surrounding the lopers are joined to their neighboring members with half-blind dovetail joints. The bottom rail, behind which are several horizontal glue blocks, is set into grooves in the case sides. The molded base is attached to the case bottom with wood pins. The faces of the front ogee bracket feet are attached to the baseboard above with screw pockets. Behind them are horizontal glue blocks butted together and attached by screw pockets and rosehead nails to the case bottom. Below the horizontal glue blocks are vertical glue blocks with rosehead nails. The rear feet have ogee bracket side faces, into which are set, in back, in grooves, simple scrolling brackets. On the case bottom above are shadows of former glue blocks. Examined by P.E. Kane, August 6, 2012; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Northeast Auctions, Hampton and Portsmouth, N.H., Annual Summer Americana Auction, sale cat. (August 6–8, 2010), 111, lot 868, ill.