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Photo: Courtesy of Gary R. Sullivan Antiques Inc., Sharon, Mass.; photo by Matthew J. Buckley
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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF6146

Maker

Maker, attributed to Abraham Tourtelott, 1698?1762

Dimensions

42 1/4 × 35 1/2 × 19 7/8 in. (107.32 × 90.17 × 50.48 cm)

Date

probably 1743

Current location

Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Inc.

Geography

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

Medium

Maple (primary); maple (supports for well); chestnut (dust board under top drawer, drawer linings, back boards, and horizontal well support at back of case); pine (bottom board, drawer supports [original?], platforms on underside of bottom board, and interior drawer linings)

Marks

"A H Tourtellot," incised on exterior bottom and proper-left exterior side of second drawer from proper right

Inscriptions

“V [pointing up],” in chalk, on exterior back of second exterior drawer from top; “S[?],” in chalk, on exterior bottom of third exterior drawer from top; “3,” in graphite, on interior bottom of third exterior drawer from top; “1” through “4” [later], in graphite, on exterior back of larger interior drawers; “Guaranteed / ginsburg & levy / 815 Madison Av., N.Y.,” printed in red ink, on paper label glued to exterior back of middle interior drawer; illegible inscription, in chalk, on exterior back of second interior drawer from proper-right; illegible chalk, on exterior proper-left side of second interior drawer from proper-left; illegible red graphite, on exterior bottom of proper-left interior drawer

Style

William and Mary

Provenance

Hannah Tourtellot (née Case, widow of Jeremiah Corps [Corpe], 1713–unknown) and Abraham Tourtellot (1698–1762), Glocester, Rhode Island; Ginsburg and Levy, New York, 1940–50. Private collection, Michigan, before 2014; sold to Gary R. Sullivan Antiques, Sharon, Massachusetts, 2014

Associated names

Ginsburg and Levy, Inc.

Construction

The single-board top is blind-dovetailed, mitered, and wood-pinned to the single-board case sides. The hinged, thumb-molded lid consists of a large, horizontal board tenoned into two narrow flanking vertical boards. The tenons are visible at the bottom of the lid when it is closed. It opens to an interior with valanced open compartments separated by straight dividers over small drawers. The small-drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter flat-topped sides in dovetail joints above and half-pins with rabbets below. The single-board drawer bottoms are flat, perpendicular to the fronts, and glued into rabbets in the elements above. The interior sits upon a molded base, in front of which is a well with a sliding cover, flush with the top of the writing surface. The undersides of the transverse boards of the interior writing surface, rabbeted to accommodate the sliding well cover, are set into grooves in the backboard. Vertical loper stops are screwed into the case sides. The case back consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards, fixed with rosehead nails into rabbets in the top and sides. Within the case, the top and bottom rails and drawer dividers meet the case sides behind strips of wood fixed to the stiles with brads. Drawers supports align with the dividers, also nailed to the case sides with brads. There is a full-depth dust board between the upper exterior drawer and the one below. The fronts of the four thumb-molded and graduated exterior drawers meet their slightly shorter, arch-topped sides in dovetail joints, having thick-necked pins of varying configuration, with half-pins above and below. The single-board drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the fronts, are chamfered at their front and sides, where they fit into grooves. Later runners are glued to the bottom of the drawer sides. The drawer bottoms are nailed to the bottoms of the flat-topped drawer backs with brads. Joints between the single-board case bottom and the case sides and bottom rail are hidden under a three-sided frame, fixed to the front and side edges of the case bottom with rosehead nails through the bottom and top faces of the case bottom. A single-piece base molding is nailed with brads to the bottom of the case. Turned feet are doweled into the corners of the three-sided frame fixed to the case bottom. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, December 17, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

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), 14, 165–167, no. 13, fig. 1–2.