Secretary and bookcase

1790–1800


Object Place: Boston or Salem, Massachusetts

Catalogue Raisonné

Eighteenth-century American Arts No. 22

Dimensions

212.09 x 96.52 x 62.23 cm (83 1/2 x 38 x 24 1/2 in.)

Accession Number

38.1829

Medium or Technique

Mahogany, pine

On View

C. Kevin and G. Barrie Landry Gallery (Gallery 126)

Collections

Americas

Classifications

Case furniture and boxes

Desk has cylinder front. The reverse-painted glass in the door at the top of the secretary is known as eglomise after the French picture framer, Jean-Baptistet Glomy, who developed this art form.


Compared to the large, gentleman’s secretary in this gallery, this example is smaller and more delicate. Its narrow body stands on thin, reeded legs and has intricate, eglomisé (reverse painting) decoration on its glass doors. A secretary such as this often was referred to as a “Lady’s Writing Desk” or “Cylinder Desk and Bookcase.” It was grouped with other furniture specifically made for women, as illustrated in Thomas Sheraton’s “The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing Book” (1793).

Provenance

Purchased from Mrs. Percy Browne, Weston, Massachusetts, in 1938 for the M. and M. Karolik Collection oif Eighteenth-Century American Arts (Accession Date.

Credit Line

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