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Desk and bookcase


Object number

RIF6482

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

81 1/2 37 19 1/2 in. (207.01 93.98 49.53 cm)

Date

1790–1810

Current location


Geography

Possibly made in Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)

Medium

Maple (primary); chestnut (bookcase and desk back boards, vertical glue block on the proper right rear foot, exterior drawer linings); pine (top of book case, glue blocks on feet); yellow poplar (desk bottom board, rear feet brackets)

Inscriptions

"v," in graphite, pointing up, on exterior backs of bottom two exterior drawers

Style

Hepplewhite, Federal

Provenance

Jack Warner (died 2017), Tuscaloosa, Alabama; consigned to Christie's, New York, September 20, 2017, lot 113

Associated names

Jack Warner
Christie's

Construction

The four vertical boards which comprise the bookcase back are fixed with rosehead and other nails into rabbets in the single-board bookcase top and sides, and directly to its base and the back edges of fixed shelves within. The backboards are deeply chamfered at their tops and bottoms, and at the sides of the flanking boards. The bookcase doors are separated by a vertical stile. Their own stiles are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to their rails, enclosing panels. The desk?s hinged lid consists of a large horizontal board tenoned into flanking vertical ?breadboard? ends. The joints between them are visible at the top and bottom of the lid. It opens to an interior which includes a small central drawer (missing) flanked by valanced compartments over two long drawers, the whole on a molded base. The front edge of the writing surface and the two lower drawer dividers meet the two-board case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The divider below the upper drawer ends in half-dovetail join ts, and the bottom rail is set into grooves in the case sides. The vertical elements enclosing the lopers are set into grooves above and below and the drawer supports are half-lapped to the backs of their respective drawer dividers. The prominently kerf-marked drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter, flat topped, formerly full-height sides in dovetail joints having large, thick-necked pins of varying configuration with half-pins above. The single-board drawer bottoms are parallel to the front and chamfered at the front and sides, where they fit into grooves, and are nailed with brads to the flat-topped drawer backs. The lower-case back consists of three horizontal half-lapped boards ? the top deeply chamfered at its top and sides, the lower two at their sides ? set into grooves in the desk top and sides. There are small moldings at the joints between the desk and its backboards ? a quarter round at the top and proper left case sides, and a cove at the proper right. The back edges of the desk top and case sides are routed to accommodate the horizontal and vertical elements of the desk interior. The two board case bottom meets the case sides in dovetail joints having large, thick-necked pins. The case?s base consists of a cove molding fixed with nails and wood-filled fasteners above a narrow maple strip. The feet consists of rectangular vertical blocks fixed directly to the case bottom, flanked by shaped blocks, the whole faced with straight bracket feet. The back brackets of the rear feet are simple straight-profiled trapezoidal boards set into grooves in the side-facing brackets. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, September 19, 2017; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Maritime, Folk, and Outsider Art, sale cat. (September 20, 2017), 83, lot 113, ill.