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Maker(s):Townsend, John (attributed)
Culture:American (1732-1809)
Date Made:1755-1775
Materials:wood: mahogany, redcedar, chestnut, yellow-poplar, cherry; base metal: brass
Place Made:United States; Rhode Island; Newport
Measurements:overall: 91 x 41 1/2 x 23 3/4 in.
Accession Number:  HD 1999.5.1
Credit Line:Gift in Memory of Charles Warner Hurst & Julia Bates Hurst

Desk-and-bookcase or secretary in two sections with original hardware (replaced locks). The lower case of four graduated drawers is supported by four ogee bracket feet and fitted with a hinged slant lid that reveals a compartmentalized interior of five bays centered on a prospect door with a carved shell and flanked by three pigeonholes above a block front drawer and a stack of three recessed drawers, the uppermost with a carved shell, on each side. The upper case is composed of a paneled, enclosed scroll pediment (some fracture) with three fluted ball-and-flame finials and flanked by engaged fluted quarter columns on either side of a pair of projecting arch-paneled doors that open to reveal a compartmentalized mahogany interior fitted with large pigeonholes and shelves. This desk-and-bookcase is significant because of its superb quality and condition. It represents the technical methods and ornamental options offered by the Goddard-Townsend workshops before the American Revolution, and as such, appears to relate to craftsmanship documented to John Townsend (1732-1809). This piece was exhibited in the Colonial American section of the 1921 Paris Exposition on loan from the Spiela family, and was purchased by the Hursts from antiques dealer Willoughby Farr of Edgewater, New Jersey, in 1938. According to the bill of sale, two of the finials are restored. The cherry is found only on the upper drawer behind the fall front. The drawer below it and drawers on the interior of the desk are redcedar with mahogany fronts. The proper left center pigeon hole drawer is all mahogany, the rest are redcedar and mahogany. The interior desk structure is chestnut. The loopers and finials are mahogany. The sides, backs and bottoms of the desk drawers are yellow-poplar, as are both of the back boards.

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