image of object
Photo: Courtesy Newport Historical Society, R.I., Gift of Francis Malbone Blodget, Jr., and Family, 2013.1; photo by Rhode Island Furniture Archive
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF6066

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

41 3/8 42 3/4 23 in. (105.09 108.59 58.42 cm)

Date

1760–90

Current location

Newport Historical Society

Geography

Made in Newport, Rhode Island, or possibly made in Providence, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Mahogany (primary); pine (interior and exterior drawer linings, backs of drawer dividers, drawer supports, and blocks at case front); chestnut (backboards, bottom board, and vertical brace)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"aA" and "B," in graphite, on interior sides, back, and front of drawers under pigeon holes (proper-right to proper-left); "a" through "d," in graphite, on interior backs of valance drawers (proper-right to proper-left); "a," "b," and "c," in graphite, on interior sides, back, and front of proper-right drawers (bottom to top); "dD" and "E," in graphite, on interior sides, back, and front of two lower prospect drawers (bottom to top); illegible letter, in graphite, on upper prospect drawer; "G," "H," "I," in graphite, on interior sides, back, and front of the proper-left drawers (bottom to top)

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Francis Malbone (1759–1809), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent in the Malbone family to Francis Malbone Blodget (born 1917), Wolfeboro, New Hampshire; given to the Newport Historical Society, Rhode Island, 2013

Associated names

Francis Malbone
Francis Malbone Blodget Jr.

Construction

The single-board top is half-blind dovetailed to the single-board case sides, the joint having finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins in front. The case back consists of multiple horizontal half-lapped boards, inside of which is a vertical batten at the case?s midpoint. The lipped, thumb-molded hinged lid consists of three pieces- a large horizontal board tenoned into two narrow vertical boards. The joints between them are visible at the "top" of the lid when it is open and the "bottom" of the lid when it is closed. Within the interior, a concave-blocked and shell-carved prospect door opens to three concave-blocked drawers- the upper one arched- flanked by two pairs of valanced and quarter-spherically concave-blocked small drawers over scalloped upright separating open compartments, with small convex-blocked drawers below. Beyond are banks of three small concave-blocked small drawers, the upper ones shell-carved, the whole above a molded base. A strip of wood at the outside edge of the writing surface indicates the possibility of an old repair. The small-drawer fronts have short kerf marks and meet their shorter, round-topped sides in dovetail joints, having finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above. The drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the front, are nailed with brads into its bottom and glued into rabbets in the sides and back. There are brads at the bottom of the drawer backs nailed into the drawer bottoms. The backs of the drawer-back tops are chamfered. The valance-drawer sides are flat-topped and flush with their drawer fronts; the backs of their drawer-backs are also chamfered. In the case below, the top rail and drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed to the case sides, and the bottom rail and loper vertical dividers fit into grooves in their neighboring elements. Behind the bottom rail are three longitudinal chamfered glue blocks. Aligning with each drawer divider is a full-depth drawer support nailed with brads to the case sides. In the inside corners between the supports are shadows (and some physical remnants) of vertical drawer stops. Beside the bottom-drawer supports are full-depth transverse blocks. The four graduated, lipped, kerf-marked and thumb-molded long drawers meet their slightly shorter, slightly rounded-top sides in dovetail joints, having thick-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The single-board, full-width drawer bottoms bear prominent planing marks, are parallel to the fronts and chamfered there, where they fit into a groove, and at the sides, where their connection is concealed under full-depth runners nailed with brads. The bottoms are fixed to the drawer backs with rosehead nails. The top of the drawer-back is slightly rounded; at the top of the rear corner is a mitre joint. The molded base is fixed to the case sides and bottom rail with brads and wood-filled fasteners. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 24, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.