Desk, slant top

1740–60, with later alterations
Carving attributed to John Welch (American, 1711–1789)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 57


Overall: 107 x 90.8 x 58.1 cm (42 1/8 x 35 3/4 x 22 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, pine

Not On View




Case furniture and boxes

Like the carved leg on the table exhibited nearby, the legs of this desk feature rare mask-carvings attributed to Boston carver John Welch. It is believed that they did not originally support a desk but probably belonged to a marble-top table or similar freestanding form. Since all four legs are carved, the original piece was to be seen from all sides and not pushed up against a wall. Parts of the upper desk may be old, but it has sustained many replacements and repairs.


Graphite inscription of back of interior drawers: "1"- "6"


Owned by Jedidiah Parker (1736/7- 1826), Boston, Massachusetts, and said by family tradition to have been removed from his house on Margaret Street, Boston, and stored on the Common when the house was torn down for firewood by the British in 1775-76. Descended through Mary Parker (Mrs. Thomas Knox Emery, d. 1878), who is said to have given it to Mis Ellen P. Leach of Charlestown, Massachusetts; to the Edes family (1); 1936, gift of Mr. amnd Mrs. Henry Herbert Edes to the MFA (Accession date: January 9, 1936).

1- listed in undated inventory of property of Grace Williamson Edes Stedman as in the front ahll upstairs.

Credit Line

Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Henry Herbert Edes