image of object
Photo: Courtesy Ralph Carpenter Archive, Winterthur Library, Del.
Click the image to enlarge

Slant-front desk

Object number



Maker Joiner D, active 1720–60


41 3/8 37 3/4 20 1/2 in. (105.093 95.885 52.07 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (secondary)




Schematic "D" or hemisphere, in chalk, on exterior backs of each exterior drawer; a horizontal line, in chalk, across exterior backs of each interior drawer


John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., Old Lyme, Connecticut, 1978. J. William Middendorf II (born 1924), Washington, D.C.; Christie's, New York, June 25, 1991, lot 221 Christie's, January 15–16, 2004, lot 472

Associated names

John S. Walton, Inc.
J. William Middendorf II


The horiztonal backboards are reinforced with a vertical brace that pierces the bottom board. Half-blind dovetails fasten the drawer sides to the drawer fronts on the interior drawers with half keys at the top and bottom. The grain of the bottom boards in the widest interior drawers runs from front to back. Two glue blocks on the interior below the bottom drawer strengthen the joint of the bottom rail and the bottom board. The feet are reinforced with vertical blocks that rest against the case bottom and horizontal blocks that abut them. The brackets on the rear feet have angled inner faces and fit in a groove in the side of the rear feet. They are glued and nailed to the bottom board.


Joiner D used a schematic "D" or hemisphere in chalk on the exterior of his drawer backs sometimes with a horizontal line in chalk across exterior backs of drawers. A number of case pieces have been found with this marking system.

See also


"John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 113, no. 6 (June 1978): 1154.
Christie's, New York, American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (June 25, 1991), 139, lot 221, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Prints, and 20th Century Self-Taught and Outside Art, sale cat. (January 15–16, 2004), 256, lot 472, 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), 455n7.