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Slant-front desk

Object number



Maker, attributed to Christopher Townsend, 1701–1787


41 1/4 35 7/8 19 3/4 in. (104.78 91.12 50.17 cm)


ca. 1750

Current location

Caxambas Foundation


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


Cedar (primary); cedar (linings of interior drawers); yellow poplar (upper back board, board under desk interior and back of top exterior drawer ); chestnut (lower back boards, bottom board, backing of drawer dividers, drawer supports, drawer linings of exterior drawers except back of top drawer, some blocks on feet); pine (blocks on feet)




"M," in graphite, on top of board under interior drawers, on underside of prospect drawer, and underside of bottom board; "A,"in chalk, and "B," in graphite, on exterior backs of two proper right interior drawers; "C," in graphite, on exterior back of prospect drawer; and "D," in graphite, and illegible chalk [possibly "E"], on exterior backs of two proper left interior drawers; "A," in graphite, on interior drawer marked "A" front corner of proper left side; "2," in graphite, on underside of drawer front of interior drawer marked "B"; "A" through "C," in graphite, on exterior backs of top three exterior drawers; "D," in graphite on underside of bottom exterior drawer; "SOLD BY / JOHN C. R. TOMPKINS / ANTIQUES / MILLBROOK, N. Y.", printed in black, and "18th century Rhode Island / Chippendale slant top desk / with block and shell interior. / Newport circa 1760–70," typewritten, on paper label glued on interior bottom of interior drawer to proper left of prospect door


John C. R. Tompkins, Millbrook, New York; sold to George Safford Parker II (1929–2004), Janesville, Wisconsin, and later Marco, Florida; Caxambas Foundation, Milwaukee; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 19, 2017, lot 2087

Associated names

John C. R. Tompkins Antiques
George Safford Parker II


Erik K. Gronning and Amy Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition," American Furniture (2013): 21–22, fig. 47.
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), 64n99.
Sotheby's, New York, The Highly Important Americana Collection of George S. Parker II from the Caxambas Foundation, sale cat. (January 19, 2017), lot 2087.