1956.0023 Desk and bookcase
  • 1956.0023 Desk and bookcase
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Desk and bookcase

  • Category:

    Furniture

  • Place of Origin:

    Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, New England, United States, North America

  • Secondary Place of Origin:

    Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, Europe

  • Date:

    1785-1800

  • Materials:

    Mahogany; Mahogany veneer; Pine, white; Cherry

  • Museum Object Number:

    1956.0023


  • Complete Details



Object Number

1956.0023

Object Name

Desk and bookcase

Category

Furniture

Credit Line/Donor

Gift of Henry Francis du Pont

Place of Origin

Boston, Suffolk, Massachusetts, New England, United States, North America

Secondary Place of Origin

Birmingham, England, United Kingdom, Europe

Date

1785-1800

Materials

Mahogany; Mahogany veneer; Pine, white; Cherry

Dimensions (inches)

95.5 (H) , 37.313 (W) , 20 (D)

Dimensions (centimeters)

242.57 (H) , 94.775 (W) , 50.8 (D)

Measurement Notes

OH with finials; OW and OD at feet. H (case) 87 in. (220.9 cm); H (writing surface) 33.4375 in. (85.0 cm); W (cornice) 35.5 in. (90.1 cm); W (upper case) 31.4375 in. (80.2 cm); W (bombe) 36.9375 in. (93.8 cm); D (cornice) 10.75 in. (27.4 cm); D (upper case) 8.0625 in. (20.6 cm); D (bombe) 19.375 in. (49.4 cm).

Object Description

Web - 01/23/2019

Federal-style desk and bookcase in two sections, made primarily with mahogany with white pine and cherry as secondary woods. The upper case is crowned with a serpentine pediment with decorative cross-hatch and bead molding. Three carved female figures representing Justice (left), Commerce (center), and Hope (right) surmount the top. There is no scroll board. The two-board mahogany top board runs the full width of the case and is dovetailed to the sides. The panel-in-frame backboard is screwed to the case. The arched bookcase door has a beveled mirror panel of conforming shape. A carved ram's head with pendent vines is situated at the center of the top of the arch. Two stop-fluted colonettes flank the mirror. At the base are a carved rosette and ram's head. Narrow doors on either side of the bookcase section are fluted Corinthian pilasters with carved patera and swags on the plinths and acanthus leaves along the capital. A wide drawer with a brass knob is just under the carved swag beneath the mirror. The drawer is released by a pin in the bottom of the case and covered over by a sliding lid. Behind the mirror door is the interior of the bookcase, which has two shelves and a cubicle in the arched section. Behind the side doors are two adjustable shelves. On the sides are brass bail pulls. On the back of the bookcase is an engraved brass plaque: [Joseph Barrell / Hannah Barrell Joy (wife of Benjamin Joy) / John Benjamin Joy / Charles Henry Joy / Benjamin Joy]. On the inside bottom of the drawer is scratched the word: [BEARING BROTHER]. The lower case is bombe?ü with a fall-front desk with a serpentine front and four graduated drawers. One each side is a post-and-bail carrying handle. Waist molding is noticeably absent. The unfolding writing surface is hinged and supported by brass hangers attached to the inside of the desk. A brass escutcheon is at the top of the lid. Drawer fronts are flush with the case and have beaded molding along the edges. The case sides and drawer sides conform to the shape of the bombe?ü. The top drawer is divided into eight compartments along the back, all with sliding tops, and three open compartments across the front. The second drawer was originally fitted with compartments. The base molding is nailed to the case. The shaped skirt is spurred with a central drop and bracket legs with claw-and-ball feet. Secret drawers are tucked behind the lower two drawers. There have been many changes made to the piece in its lifetime. The bookcase is unlikely to be original.

Bibliography and Bibliographic Notes

[Book] Richards, Nancy E. & Evans, Nancy Goyne. 1997 New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods.
Published: under cat. no. 210, pp. 450 & 452, and cat. no. 225, pp. 492-494.
[Book] Montgomery, Charles F., et al. 1966 American Furniture: The Federal Period, in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum.
Published: no. 176.
[Book] Fennimore, Donald L. 1996 Metalwork in Early America: Copper and Its Alloys from the Winterthur Collection.
Published: cat.308, p.437
[Article] Mussey, Robert D. & Haley, Anne Rogers. 1994 "John Cogswell and Boston Bombe Furniture: Thirty-Five Years of Revolution in Politics and Design". American Furniture. 1994: 73-106.
Published: fig. 24, pp. 87.
[Article] Podmaniczky, Michael & Zimmerman, Philip D. 05//1994 Two Massachusetts Bombe Desk-and-Bookcases. Antiques. 145 (5): 724-731.