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Bureau table

Object number



Maker Unknown


31 3/4 35 1/2 19 in. (80.645 90.17 48.26 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (subtop battens, drawer linings, bottom board, foot blocks, dustboard under wide drawer); maple (bottom board); chestnut (block on foot along kneehole cupboard)




"I," "II," "III," "IIII," "V," and "VI," incised on top edges of small drawer drawer backs; illegible graphite on drawer dividers; illegible chalk on interior bottom of top drawer


William Ellery (1727–1820), Newport, Rhode Island; given to his son, Edmund Trowbridge Ellery (1763–1847), Newport, Rhode Island, 1972; by descent to his nephew, Conrad C. Ellery (1807–1884), New York, 1847; by descent to his niece, K. Tennison. Katy Thaxter. Lena Thompson, Brockton, Massachusetts. Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, October 21–22, 1983, lot 334. Sotheby's, New York, January 18–19, 2008, lot 322

Associated names

William Ellery
Edmund Trowbridge Ellery
Conrad C. Ellery
Katy Thaxter
Miss Lena Thompson
K. Tennison
Sotheby Parke Bernet


TOP: The two board top, ogee molded on the front and sides and flat on the back, is flush with the back. Below the top is a subtop with two front and back battens, which, in turn are dovetailed to the top of the sides and narrower batten that run along the sides of the case. The two-board top is attached with screws through the side batten. The back edge of the subtop is visible between the top and backboards on the rear. An applied cove cornice molding is nailed to the case. DRAWERS: The full-depth drawer divider below the wide drawer is a mahogany blade backed with white pine and is joined to the case sides on sliding dovetailed and nailed to the top of the internal stiles. The rails below the small drawers are mahogany backed by white pine. All the rails have beaded edges; the beading on the sides of the drawer openings is applied. On the drawers, the carved, projecting eleven-lobe shells are applied, and the blocked drawers are cut from solid wood; the drawer fronts have flat inner faces; the dovetail pins are small and widely spaced; the top edge of the drawer sides is rounded. The drawer bottoms are chamfered on the front and fit in a groove in the drawer front and overlap the sides and back; runners are nailed to the drawer bottoms. On the top drawer, the grain of the bottom board runs side to side; on the other drawers, it runs front to back. The drawer supports, which have been flipped, are nailed to the sides and to the internal stiles forming the walls of the cabinet. CABINET: The cabinet door is a panel held within a frame. Behind the door are two straight, fixed shelves with rounded front edges. BASE: The base molding is glued to the front edge of the bottom board; it is nailed over the dovetailed lower edges of the sides. The bracket feet are glued to the bottom of the base molding and reinforced with shaped vertical blocks that at the front rest against the bottom flanked by horizontal blocks and that at the back rest on the horizontal blocks. The side bracket on the rear legs project beyond the back of the case. The back bracket on the rear legs is cut at an angle, is nailed to the bottom of the case, and is butted to the side bracket. BACK: The back is two horizontal boards; the top board is cut for a lap join, the lower board is butt. Both boards are nailed to rabbets in the sides, the back of the sub top, and the back edge of the bottom board with rosehead nails. Examined by P. E. Kane, January 17, 2008.


Retains its original brasses


"Sotheby's advertisement," Antiques 124, no. 4 (October 1983): 617, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 34, fig. 1.17–1.17a.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Related Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 21–22, 1983), n.p., lot 334, ill.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana, sale cat. (January 18–19, 2008), n.p., lot 322, ill.
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), 290n3.