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Photo: Courtesy private collection; photo by Christopher Gardner
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Desk and bookcase


Object number

RIF272

Maker

Maker Unknown

Dimensions

97 39 22 in. (246.381 99.06 55.88 cm)

Date

1770–80

Current location


Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); chestnut (secondary)

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Welcome Arnold (1745–1798), Providence, Rhode Island. Skinner, Inc., Boston and Bolton, Massachusetts (sale held Bolton), October 26, 1997, lot 140. G. K. S. Bush, Inc., Washington, D. C., 1998; sold to the present owner, 2005

Associated names

Welcome Arnold
Skinner, Inc.
G. K. S. Bush, Inc.

Construction

The single-piece scrollboard is nailed through its outer face to elements within the upper bookcase section. Its crown molding is face-nailed to it and to the bookcase?s sides and ceiling. Its doors consist of lipped and molded stiles tenoned and wood-pinned to molded rails enclosing fielded panels. The inside faces of the single-board bookcase sides are fitted with small plaques spaced to accommodate adjustable shelves. Intermediate full-height stiles are similarly fitted and set into grooves in the bookcase floor and ceiling. The case back consists of three vertical boards. The hinged lid is a large horizontal board tenoned into narrow flanking vertical boards; the joints between them are visible at the top and bottom of the lid. The interior includes a convex-blocked and fan-carved prospect drawer flanked by banks of four valanced open compartments over five small drawers and two ?nose and cove?-fronted long drawers. The prominently kerf-marked small-drawer fronts meet their slightly shorter, slightly arch-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut, thick-necked pins with half-pins above. The smaller-drawer bottoms, perpendicular to their fronts, are glued into rabbets in their sides and backs. The larger drawers? bottoms, parallel to their fronts, are nailed with brads. The prospect drawer has a false bottom, visible from the back, which encloses a secret compartment. In the case below, the front edge of the writing surface and the drawer dividers below meet the case sides in half-blind dovetail joints. The bottom rail and the vertical element besides the molded loper fronts are set into grooves. The lipped, thumb-molded and graduated long drawers meet their slightly shorter, slightly arch-topped drawer sides in dovetail joints having large, thick-necked pins of slightly varying configuration. The drawer bottoms are parallel to the front, and full-width. The single-piece base molding is fixed to the case with wood-filled fasteners. Examined by P.E. Kane, October 3, 2007; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

Skinner, Inc., Boston and Bolton, Mass., American Furniture and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 26, 1997), 50, lot 140, ill.
"G.K.S. Bush, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 154, no. 5 (November 1998): 546.
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), 240–243, 243n1, no. 40, fig. 2.