Desk and bookcase

1770–1790


Object Place: Providence, Rhode Island

Catalogue Raisonné

Eighteenth-century American Arts No. 19

Dimensions

Overall: 241.9 x 101.3 x 66 cm (95 1/4 x 39 7/8 x 26 in.) Other (Depth of desk opened): 96.5 cm (38 in.)

Accession Number

39.155

Medium or Technique

Mahogany, chestnut, pine, cherry

On View

Marilyn and John F. Keane Family Gallery (Gallery 127)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Case furniture and boxes

Scroll pediment with carved finials. Triple division with convex and concave panels surmounted by carved shell forms on doors and slant lid, over 3 graduated blocked front drawers, on ogee feet. Doors flanked by fluted quarter columns. Brass bail handles and escutcheons.


Often considered the apogee of early American cabinetmaking, Rhode Island desks-and-bookcases are notable for their superior craftsmanship and carved, block-and-shell facades. In the lower case is a chest of drawers for storage of textiles, with a desktop above and tall shelves for keeping account books and papers behind lock and key. This example was found in Providence, Rhode Island, in the early twentieth century and relates stylistically to two desks-and-bookcases owned by the prominent Brown family, merchants of Providence.

Provenance

Purchased from Mrs. J. Marsden Perry, Providence, Rhode Island, 1939.

Credit Line

The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts