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Maker(s):Barber, Joseph (attributed to)
Culture:American (1765-1837)
Title:desk
Date Made:1805-1820
Type:Furniture
Materials:wood: cherry
Place Made:Massachusetts: Ashfield
Measurements:Overall: 38 1/4 in x 32 1/2 in x 18 in; 97.2 cm x 82.5 cm x 45.7 cm
Accession Number:  HD 2022.2
Credit Line:Museum Collections Fund
Museum Collection:  Historic Deerfield
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Description:
Cherry slant-lid desk with drawer on tapered legs attributed to Joseph Barber (1765-1837) of Ashfield, MA. The desk is marked on the back of the brass escutcheon plate, “J Barber.” Barber was born in Derbyshire, England, and immigrated to America before 1796. He married Experience Palmer (1774-1854), and was living in Rhode Island in 1796, at which time his son John was born. By 1801, he and his family were living in Savoy, Massachusetts, where his daughter Sarah was born the same year. He settled in Ashfield, Massachusetts in about 1808. Joseph and Experience were also the parents of the following children: Waite (b. 1797 in Rhode Island), Elizabeth (b. 1803 in Savoy), Joseph (b. 1806 d. 1807 in Savoy), William Henry (b. 1808 in Savoy), Lucy (b. 1810 in Ashfield), and Jane (b. 1813 in Ashfield). One Ashfield town history references a Joseph and Henry Barber who operated woodworking shops in Ashfield. The same history also notes that John and Henry Barber, sons of Joseph Barber, constructed saw and woodworking mills in Ashfield.

Construction: The top of the case is composed of a single board that is nailed to the sides. The case sides are each composed of a single board that is tenoned and pinned to the desk's legs. The back of the case is composed of a single horizontal board with chamfered top and side edges, which is let into a groove at the sides and nailed on all four sides. A narrow wooden rail directly below the backboard is tenoned and pinned to the desk’s legs.
The desk interior features nine graduated drawers with brass pulls arranged in three rows. One of the interior drawers is missing. The interior drawers have thick drawer fronts that are attached to the drawer sides with two prominent half-blind dovetails. The drawer backs are attached to the drawer sides with two smaller through dovetails. The tops of the drawer sides and drawer back are chamfered along their edges. The drawer bottoms are let into a groove at the front, sides, and back, and are glued into place.
The slant-lid door is composed of a single horizontal board that is tenoned into narrow perpendicular boards at the sides. The front edges of the slant-lid door are finished with integral quarter round molding, and the door front features an oval-shaped ivory or bone escutcheon, which may be a later replacement. The brass escutcheon plate on the door interior is inscribed “J Barber.” When open, the slant-lid door is supported by two lopers with brass pulls and molded front edges.
Directly below the slant-lid door is a single drawer that is positioned between the two lopers. The drawer front has a lip at the top and sides, and features integral quarter round molding on all four sides. The drawer front is attached to the drawer sides with three half-blind dovetails. The drawer back is attached to the drawer sides with two through dovetails. The tops of the drawer sides and drawer back are chamfered along their edges. The drawer bottom is composed of a single horizontal board that is chamfered along the front and sides. The drawer bottom is let into a groove at the front and sides and nailed at the back. The underside of the drawer bottom also has a single glue block near each of the back corners of the drawer. Directly below the drawer is a narrow wooden rail that is tenoned and pinned to the desk's legs.
The case is supported on four tapered legs that extend to the height of the desk at the front and back. The legs are tenoned and pinned to the case sides. There is evidence of red stain on the desk’s exterior surfaces.

Link to share this object record:
https://museums.fivecolleges.edu/detail.php?t=objects&type=ext&id_number=HD+2022.2

Research on objects in the collections, including provenance, is ongoing and may be incomplete. If you have additional information or would like to learn more about a particular object, please email fc-museums-web@fivecolleges.edu.

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