Chippendale Block-Front Slant-Top Desk
North Shore, Massachusetts, probably Salem, ca. 1760-1775.
Mahogany, secondary wood, white pine
One of the most notable features of the desk are the exceptionally rare ornate ormolu fire-gilt phoenix brass pulls and escutcheons. These would have been among the most expensive brasses made in Birmingham, England, at the time. They are pictured in an 18th c. Birmingham hardware catalogue from which British and Colonial cabinetmakers could order from. A copy of this catalogue is at Winterthur.
The features of the slightly rounded blocking on the top drawer, the central shell carved pendant, and the extended robust brackets of the feet are attributes found on Salem block-front desks. The base and feet are related to a desk made by Abraham Watson of Salem. (See literature)
Condition: Original fire-gilt phoenix brasses, minor repairs otherwise in fine condition.
Provenance: Descended in the Parsons family of Gloucester, MA,
Christie’s, Americana Sale, 1997.
Private Collection, Connecticut
Literature: For closely related secretary see Michael Flannigan, American furniture from the Kaufman Collection, plate 23; for other related Salem pieces see Morrison Heckscher, American Furniture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, pp. 276-279, 269-270.
A related Slant-lid Desk descended through the Wintrhop family of Boston. It is part of the Garvan Collection at Yale. (see Lowell, Boston Furniture of the 18th Century, Boston, 1974, pg. 166, fig. 80). Another related desk in the Garvan Collection features a mirrored prospect door (please see Gerald Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mable Brady Garvan Collection at Yale University, New Haven, 1988, p. 305, no. 159).
Dimensions: 45"h x 41"w x 23" d
Item ID: F-CP-STD 017
Price available upon request
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