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Slant-front desk


Object number

RIF6273

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

41 1/2 39 3/4 22 3/4 in. (105.41 100.97 57.79 cm)

Date

1760–90

Current location

Unknown

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); mahogany (linings of interior drawers); pine (backboards of case, sides and backs of exterior drawers and most drawer dividers ); chestnut (bottoms of exterior drawers and drawer supports); yellow poplar (divider under second long drawer)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

"1" through "6," in graphite, on interior bottoms and backs of valence drawers; "1" through "4," in graphite, on interior backs of proper-right interior drawers [from upper shell drawer to long drawer]; [drawers behind prospect missing]; "8" to "11," in graphite, on interior backs of proper-left interior drawers [from long drawer to lower small drawer]; "X," in chalk, on interior backs on exterior drawers

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Ginsburg and Levy, Inc., New York, 1947. Gano Pearson Trust; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 22–23, 2016, lot 1553. Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago, October 18–19, 2016, lot 953

Associated names

Ginsburg and Levy, Inc.
Gano Pearson Trust
Sotheby's
Leslie Hindman Auctioneers

Construction

The single-board top meets the single-board case sides in dovetail joints having finely cut narrow-necked pins with half-pins in front. The hinged, thumb-molded lid consists of a large horizontal board tenoned into two narrow vertical boards. The tenons are visible at the bottom of the lid when it is closed. It opens to an interior centering a concave-blocked and shell-carved prospect door (the prospect drawers are missing) flanked by banks of quarter-spherically-blocked, beaded and scallop-skirted valence drawers separated by upright scalloped dividers over convex-blocked drawers, and banks of three-concave-blocked drawers, the upper ones shell-carved. The interior drawer fronts have short kerf marks and meet their slightly shorter, arch-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having large finely cut thin-necked pins with half-pins above. The rear edge of the drawer-back tops are chamfered. The drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the fronts, are glued into rabbets in the elements above. The two-board case back (there is a later horizontal strip between the boards) is nailed into rabbets in the top and sides and directly to the case bottom with an assortment of early and later nails. The two-board case bottom meets the case sides in dovetail joints with pins of varying configuration. Within the case, the upper drawer supports also serve as loper supports and are half-lapped to the upper drawer dividers and fixed, in a rabbet near the back, with a rosehead nail to the case sides. The drawer supports below are fixed to the case sides with rosehead nails. The top rail and drawer dividers are half-blind dovetailed to, and the bottom rail is set into grooves in, the case sides. The vertical uprights beside the lopers are butt-jointed to the top rail above and drawer divider below. The thumb-molded, lipped, graduated, kerf-marked exterior-drawer fronts meet their shorter, arch-topped sides in dovetail joints having small, finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The single-board, full-width drawer bottoms are parallel to the front, where they fit into a groove, and chamfered at the sides, where they are held in place by a method obscured by later, glued-on, full-depth runners. The bottoms are nailed with brads to the bottoms of the flat-topped drawer backs. A base molding is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to the case and a separate molding, running between the bracket feet in front and at the sides, and slightly proud of the base molding, is fixed with wood-filled fasteners to its underside. The feet consist of vertical shaped blocks attached directly to the case bottom and flanked by horizontal shaped blocks, the whole faced with ogee brackets. The back brackets of the rear feet are configured differently, being (replaced) straight-profiled trapezoidal boards. Examined by P. E. Kane, J. S. Gordon, J. M. Johnson, C. F. Eskridges, January 19, 2016; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Leslie Hindman Auctioneers, Chicago, Fine Furniture and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 18–19, 2016), lot 953, ill.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints, Chinese Export Porcelain, and Carpets, sale cat. (January 22–23, 2016), 165, lot 1553, ill.