This lustrous mahogany desk and bookcase represents a pinnacle of achievement for American cabinetmakers. One of nine known examples, this block-front desk and book-case with six carved shells is associated with the Goddard/Townsend family of cabinetmakers in Newport. The desk exemplifies their superb craftsmanship in the delicate dovetailed construction of the drawers. Their mastery of proportions is evident in the piece’s well-balanced broken-scroll pediment, alternating convex and concave surfaces, and integrated flame finials. In a Rhode Island house of the period, the desk and bookcase was the most expensive piece of case furniture. A combination office, safe, and library, it offered space for account books and writing materials, a flat surface for writing, and small lockable drawers for securing money or jewelry. 1760-1785.
Providence, Rhode Island
Rhode Island School of Design Museum; American; furniture; desk; bookcase; mohogany; cedar; tulipwood; pine; chestnut
American Material Culture | American Studies | Art and Design | Industrial and Product Design
RISD Museum; Emlen, Robert; and Philbrick, Timothy, "Goddard Bookcase and Desk" (2014). Channel. 1.