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Slant-front desk

Object number



Maker John Goddard, American, 1723–1785


42 39 1/2 22 in. (106.68 100.33 55.88 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (bottom board, brackets for rear feet, backboards, drawer supports, some drawer bottoms and backs on the exterior drawers, and backing for the drawer dividers); white pine (some exterior drawer sides and bottoms); cedar (interior drawer sides and bottoms)


"Made by / John Goddard / in Newport Rhode Isle," in ink, on inside of prospect door


"2" and "3," in chalk, on underside of two exterior drawers; illegible chalk, possbily "B," on exterior back of one exterior drawer; "1" to "11," in graphite, on interior drawer backs [center] and sides [at front corners] and from proper-right to proper-left and from top to bottom; "1" through "6," in graphite, on valance drawers on interior backs [center] and interior sides [at front corners] from proper-right to proper-left


Reginald M. Lewis (died 1760), Easton, Maryland; sold to Joe Kindig, Jr., and Son, York, Pennsylvania; sold to Edward J. Nusrala, St. Louis, Missouri; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 21, 2006, lot 680

Associated names

Reginald Minturn Lewis
Joe Kindig, Jr. and Son
Edward J. Nusrala
Mimika Nusrala


Half-blind dovetails fasten the top to the two-piece case sides with a half pin at the front, a half tail at the back and seven full and one half dovetail between them; the interior of the case sides have toothing plane marks. The batten ends of the slant front have open tenons at each end; two brass hinges fasten the slant front to the writing surface. The bottoms of the interior drawers are glued to rabbets in all four drawer sides; half-blind dovetails on the drawer fronts have half pins at the top and bottom; the grain of the drawer bottom runs from side to side. Half-blind dovetails fasten the top rail and the drawer dividers to the case sides; the bottom rail is let into a groove in the case sides. The drawer supports are nailed to the case sides with rosehead nails. The grain of the bottoms of the exterior drawers runs from side to side. Half-blind dovetails fasten the exterior drawer fronts to the drawer sides with a half pin at top and bottom and on the lowest drawer three full dovetails between them. The lower half pin has a groove cut in it for the drawer bottom, which is slightly chamfer on the front and sides; the drawer bottom is nailed to the sides and underside of the back with brads; runners are applied at the edges of the sides. The kerf marks on the exterior drawers are long and average thickness; the top edge of the drawer sides is rounded. The top exterior drawer has a wooden locking device that extends through the drawer sides and into the case side. The three-piece backboard is nailed to rabbets in the top and sides and to the back edge of the bottom board with rosehead nails. The one-piece bottom board is dovetailed to the case sides. The brasses are replaced. Examined by P. E. Kane and M. Taradash, January 19, 2006.


"Collector's Notes," Antiques 125, no. 5 (May 1984): 1148, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 140, 201, 216, 221, figs. 3.65–66, 4.1, 5.1a, 5.9a-b, 5.9c, ill.
William C. Ketchum Jr., American Cabinetmakers: Marked American Furniture, 1640-1940 (New York: Crown Publishers, 1995), 137.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 128.
David H. Conradsen, Useful Beauty: Early American Decorative Arts from St. Louis Collections, exh. cat. (Saint Louis: Saint Louis Art Museum, 1999), 74–75, no. 29, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, and Folk Art: Featuring English Pottery from the Collection of the Late Robert J. Kahn and the Lafayette-Washington Pistols, sale cat. (January 18–19, 2002), 222, fig. 3.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana from the Collection of Diane and Norman Bernstein, The Lindens, Washington, D.C., sale cat. (January 22, 2006), 174, ill.
Christie's, New York, Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. E. J. Nusrala, sale cat. (January 21, 2006), 62–64, lot 680, 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), 200n2, 301n3, 455n6.