Description: EXCEEDINGLY FINE AMERICAN CHIPPENDALE OXBOW DESK OVER BALL AND CLAW FEET
Boston, Massachusetts c. 1760-80
Retaining original brasses, feet and chalk inscription to underside
Item # 411MKP15V
A remarkable work of art, this fine American Chippendale slant front desk features the very desirable """"oxbow"""" or """"serpentine"""" facade cherished in the best pieces. Hewn from incredibly thick mahogany logs, these drawers are sawn into shape with a continuous plank to achieve the fluid movement found in the case. The top drawer is particularly difficult to execute, as this retains much more of the mahogany and not only serpentines with the case but also is faceted along the top edge. Retaining it's brilliant polished brass batwing hardware, the desk remains in an outstanding state of preservation. The drawer structures are untouched, even the applied runners remaining original to the case. These are crafted in the typical manner for the Northern Shore of Massachusetts - the pine frame is dovetailed along the front and back, the bottom deeply chamfered and set into rabbets in the sides of the drawer over which a thin pine runner is applied to create the groove. They slide easily in and out of the case over a few original and several replaced interior case runners, these nailed to the case from the inside. The drawers are divided by drawer blades with raised edges to simulate cockbead molding, affixed into the sides of the case on either end with open dovetails; as economical craftsmen, only a few inches of mahogany line the front of the drawer blade, which is backed by several inches of pine. The interior is somewhat typical of the region, having a stepped interior with a central half-shell carved drawer over a conforming blocked front drawer flanked by document drawers and three pigeon-hole letter compartments. The outer pigeon-hole valances are actually hidden drawers, each crafted with uncompromising workmanship of tiny dovetails to match the other drawers. There are a total of seven other small drawers of varying sizes along the two levels of the interior. Perhaps most noteworthy in the desk is the bold and robust presence of the feet - these are unusually full of character and individuality, each being exaggerated and crisply carved. These are untouched feet, retaining all blocking with the exception of a single replaced return and block. The bottom of the case is signed in chalk, only partially legible. For the connoisseur and collector of American antiques that demands exceptional quality, form and presence, this is a rare find that will certainly be a cherished and highly appreciated part of any period interior.
Dimensions: 24 1/4"""" D x 45 1/2"""" W x 44"""" H; 33 1/2"""" H to writing surface; writing area is 18 13/16"""" D
Condition Report: Surface retains an old refinish, the shellac cloudy and dry in some areas. Hairline cracks in drop front. Light scuffs and abrasions throughout as expected, some wear to the top of the desk. A period key is included, but locks are currently clogged and non-functional. Feet are original, right return of front right foot is replaced (along with the immediate block for this return) - all other blocking is entirely original; most appear to have had a screw in them at one point, these now absent. Backboards are original with many original nails and some later nails; lowest 3-4"""" strip of backboard replaced. Runners inside of the case for the lower three drawers are replaced, others are original. Original hardware, hinges, etc. Drawers are untouched. Loss to top left batwing. Remaining in an overall exceptional state of preservation. We have 100 detailed images of this desk available.
Due to image limitations clients should visit our gallery website (www.sillafineantiques.com) prior to purchase to review all item images. Verbal condition reports are also available by calling (717) 658-8274 Monday through Friday 9a-5:30p or by emailing email@example.com
Literature: New England Furniture: The Colonial Era, Jobe & Kaye, p. 155 f. 19 - detailing a chest of drawers c. 1764-80 of the Boston area w/ oxbow facade and bracket feet with shaped returns; an identical central apron pendant. See also f. 27 (p. 176-8) for a companion to this piece. Also, p. 241-246 f. 50 catalogues a Boston, Massachusetts c. 1765-75 block front secretary desk with the same pendant; the bottom of that desk is inscribed in chalk by William Foster, the owner of that desk during the Revolution
American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University, Gerald W. R. Ward, p. 303-5, f. 158 - detailing a block front desk of Boston, Massachusetts c. 1755-75; features a three shell interior of highly similar setup over very bold ball and claw feet with identical returns flanking an identical central apron pendant.
Fine Points of Furniture: Early American, Albert Sack, p. 147 - an oxbow desk by Stone and Alexander of Boston, Massachusetts c. 1760-80 noted as """"Best""""; lacking the central apron pendant, it is worth reviewing due to the noteworthy boldness of the feet - the claws bear a striking resemblance to the strength and presence of the present example
Notes: $345 freight shipping to most locations in the Continental U.S by common freight carrier with a delivery timeline of 10-15 business days (west coast up to 20 business days). Quotes do not include lift-gate service, which is recommended for weights over 150lbs - lift gate service is available upon request for an additional $65. White glove delivery service quotes are available by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org or calling the shop at (717) 658-8274. Please review all shipping notes for details and exceptions. (Shipping code 450)
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