Tambour desk

about 1800
Probably by John Seymour (American (born in England), 1738–1818), and Thomas Seymour (American (born in England), 1771–1848)

Object Place: Boston, Massachusetts

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 60


Overall: 104.1 x 101 x 50.8 cm (41 x 39 3/4 x 20 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique


On View

Prudence S. and William M. Crozier, Jr. Gallery (Gallery 121)




Case furniture and boxes

This desk descended in the family of Nathaniel West, a distinguished Salem merchant. Until their 1806 divorce, West was married to Elizabeth Derby West; three rooms from their mansion, Oak Hill, are installed on this level. The desk is notable for its fine inlays, including the Neoclassical swags on the tambour shutters, and for its imported English enameled pulls, depicting young ladies.


Owned by Nathaniel West (1756-1857) from whom it descended through his daughter Eliza (Mrs. Edward Lander) to Louisa Lander. Upon her death, she left it to her grand-niece, Margaret Lander Pierce (daughter of her grand-nephew Vinton), who left it to her daughter, Mrs. David R. McIlwaine. Mrs. McIlwaine gave it to the MFA in memory of her mother.

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. David R. McIlwaine in memory of Margaret Lander Pierce