Condition: Generally excellent, commensurate with age and use. There are minor
repaired breaks to the rear foot facings. The keyhole escutcheon on the lid is an old
replacement. There are old, repaired cracks to the pediment and both battens, all else
fine…displays beautifully. Again, the desk is in exceptional condition, with typical
abrasions and wear associated with an eighteenth century piece. The finish is
outstanding elevating the importance and interest of the piece, as very few formal case
pieces of the eighteenth century display such a surface.
Additional Information: This desk and bookcase (or secretary desk), which was found
in a Connecticut estate, survives in an extraordinary state of preservation, retaining a
very early, dry surface that is likely original. It also retains the original pressed-brass
drawer pulls, made by the Birmingham firm of Hands & Jenkins. The handles are
signed, “H. J.” (for Thomas Hands and William Jenkins, 1791-1803). Signed hardware is
a feature that is uncommon, but sought-after by collectors of American furniture.
The ogee feet are original and in excellent condition…the prominent spurs are within
Connecticut shop traditions. The original applied scroll pediment, terminating in carved
rosettes, retains the original turned wooden finial, an element that rarely survives. The
lid features its original hinges and lock. The bookcase shelves are accommodated by
slotted case sides, [two adjustable shelves]. Remarkably, the desk retains the original
lock, hinges, and escutcheons, and still shows the original red wash on the interior.
Material: Cherrywood with contrasting light and dark wood inlays.
Secondary woods are white pine and poplar
Condition: The desk survives with typical minor wear and inlay repairs consistent with age and
use. There are several patches to the cock-beading, lid, and inlays. The slant lid hinges are
replacements with associated patches. Several glue blocks on the feet are replaced. There is
evidence of ancient, inactive pesting, mostly to the feet. Brass hardware is replaced. The
prospect door and one interior drawer are replaced. The surface is a pleasing, modern finish.
This important cherry desk and bookcase features the exuberant use of pattern inlays
associated with the Lumbard-school of furniture making from the Sutton, Massachusetts area.
The desk bears similarities to furniture made by Nathan Lumbard, as well as his master,
Sturbridge, Massachusetts cabinetmaker, Oliver Wight. Nathan Lumbard (1777-1847) has long
been associated with high style rural furniture, often executed in cherry, with extensive inlays,
such as these. Formerly referenced as, “Lombard” his work, and that of a small circle of related
craftsman is well documented in the landmark 2018 publication by Christie Jackson, Brock Jobe
and Clark Pearce, entitled, Crafting Excellence, the Furniture of Nathan Lumbard and his Circle.
This desk was examined and carefully documented for the study by the scholars. The portion of
the book that would cover this piece was the responsibility of Brock Jobe. According to Mr.
Jobe, the desk relates very closely to the work of Oliver Wight and Nathan Lumbard, although
he fell short of making a solid attribution to one or the other. It was Mr. Jobe’s intention to
include the desk in the publication, as an example produced by an unknown member of
Lumbard’s circle. Ultimately, limited space did not allow for its inclusion in the book.
The raised, bookcase top has a flared cornice molding above a pair of paneled doors. The
doors are richly inlaid with paterae at each corner of the frame above bell flowers and bookend
bottom corners. This molded frame centers a line inlaid panel with quarter fans at each corner
framing a large oval paterae. The doors also feature overall line inlaid decoration. Below the
cabinet doors is a single candle slide that is constructed of a thick slab of pine with an inlay
decorated cherry front. The doors open to a bookcase with adjustable shelves over five
portioned cubbies. The bookcase rests on a slant front desk; the lid inlaid with quarter fans and
a large oval paterae. The lid opens to a fitted interior featuring four cubbies over two short and
one long drawer flanking a central prospect section. This prospect section centers a pair of
vertical document drawers with bookend inlay at each side of a removable fitted compartment
that reveals four secret shelves. The desk is above four graduated long drawers with quarter fan
inlay and brass hardware. The front corners of the desk have fluted quarter columns with turned
capitals and bases. The base rests on a molding above tall ogee bracket feet with shaped
returns. This wonderful example of federal furniture features bold paterae inlays and abundant
inlaid flourishes, making it one of the more elaborate furniture pieces made in the region.
An outstanding serpentine-front inlaid sideboard, probably Connecticut, circa 1800,
cherry. The oblong serpentine-front top with alternating light and dark inlaid edge above
a case with two concave banded short drawers with line inlaid quarter round inlaid
corners and oval inlaid center, centering a long convex drawer with similar inlay and
an ivory escutcheon plate above a pair of concave hinged cupboard doors with banded
and line inlaid quarter round inlaid corners and circular inlaid center and ivory key
escutcheon, centering a pair of recessed convex hinged cupboard doors with similar
inlay and ivory key escutcheon flanked by concave panels with line inlaid quarter round
inlaid corners and vertical oval inlaid center, joined by oval, bellflower and line inlaid
square tapering legs ending in cross banded cuffs. Brasses are period replacements,
surface was cleaned, various minor repairs to inlays.
(width: 72”, depth at ends: 15”, at center: 26”, height: 42”)
A grain-painted glazed desk/bookcase of two-piece construction featuring cove molding above a pair of six light glazed door: the interior with original robin’ s egg blue paint. The lift-top slanted desktop opens to a bittersweet-painted interior having four tiger-maple [curly maple] grain-painted drawers retaining original brass pulls and open compartments. The lower case with single long drawer over center section containing four short drawers flanked by two deep drawers each side. As part of the desk’ s evolution the center section of four drawers was likely added within twenty years of its conception facilitating the owners need for storage. The desk is raised on scroll front legs and turned rear legs. The case may have originally sat on the floor with legs added when kneehole was fitted with drawers. Original surface, small loss to left corner of cornice, extremely minor paint wear, sections of beading missing on base.
(Height: 86.75"; width: 42.75"; depth: 23")
The generous overhanging top with molded front edge featuring scrolled back joining
stepdown tablet sides on a plain apron having single long drawer; the apron joining
turned legs. Excellent original condition, nice patina.
(Height: 30"; height to galley: 36"; width 41.25”; depth: 20")
The desk with single long drawer is seated on a frame featuring a terrific shaped apron
joining straight turned and tapering legs continuing to pad feet resting on the most
unusual discoidal platforms of which we have never encountered. The lid encloses eight
valanced cubies over stepped tiers containing three drawers each; interior retains
original red paint, hinges and drawer pulls.
(Height: 41.75"; writing height: 29"; width: 36"; depth: 17")
The slant top opens to reveal several rows of compartments, some retaining labels such
as “deeds”. Recessed paneled sides, three dovetail joined graduated drawers; corner
posts continuing to turned legs. The vinegar daubed decoration is against a bright
yellow over varnished ground darkened with age. Left front leg is damaged behind ring-
turning…make-do repair utilizing a steel bracket from behind and a turned stretcher
joining rear leg. The repair is very strong and stable. We have talent available to
properly restore although it displays well as is. Please know that what looks like brown
imperfection to bottom drawer, at left, is an old paper label which will easily steam-off.
(Height: 47.5"; writing height: 41"; width: 35.75"; depth: 22")
The bookcase interior features a single shelf above a ledger cubby flanked by short
drawers. Fall front writing lid rests on loppers having Bennington flint pulls and retains
original green baize. Two dovetail-joined drawers with turned wood pulls above a plain
apron joining tapered cutout legs.
(Height: 56.5"; writing height: 29.5"; width: 35.25": depth: 17.75"; cupboard depth: 10")
A fine quality functional desk featuring a long drawer above kneehole flanked by four
short drawers within each pedestal centered by fluted stiles. The case is of three
sections, top and pedestals’, easy to move. (width: 60.5"; depth: 35.5"; height: 30.5")
The bonnet-top having cyma scrolled tympanum with bold conforming moldings; the side plinths having finials
rising above the case stiles; the cresting centered by a plinth with flame turned finial. The powerfully raised panel
tombstone doors conceal deeply carved scalloped domes, and a sophisticated arrangement of letter slots and book
shelving; the whole above candle slides featuring molded fronts [below the doors on either side].
The desk of four graduated thumb molded graduated drawers below a well-crafted slanted fall-board concealing a
removeable prospect section at center, actuated by a secret spring lock; behind the prospect is a drawer for
documents, and a concealed trap door to three original coin drawers, which are positioned behind the full width
top drawer of the desk proper; the prospect is fronted by a removeable well carved sunburst centered drawer.
The desk is unusual in construction whereas it is supported by a separate frame raised on graceful cabriole legs
featuring accentuated sweep and attenuated stance on out swept pad feet. The rhythmically scroll carved molded
apron provides motion…visual excitement. The acceptance molding of the two cases display appropriate and
successful molded contour accentuating a balanced union and is repeated at the base of the frame. The
proportions, drawer graduation, and overall vertical orientation cannot be overstated.
In exceptional structural condition; having wonderful old surface; finials are replacements; added glue block
to interior bonnet roof to compensate for the shortened bonnet edge of the top side in the bonnet backboard,
restoring it to the correct placement and contour within the bonnet architecture (the shortened edge was certainly
done to accommodate a lower ceiling height. Desk interior: some valances restored, some interior drawer bottoms
replaced with period stock, sunburst carved prospect door is replaced; 150-year-old restoration to applied scrolled
molding on the proper right-side bottom of the frame; added braces at corners of the frame with later screws.
Reference: For related examples see:
Connecticut Valley Furniture; Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750-1800; Thomas P. Kugelman and Alice
K. Kugelman with Robert Lionetti; Connecticut Historical Society Museum; Hartford, Connecticut; 2005; Catalog 55;
Desk-and-bookcase-on-frame; possibly Middletown; pp. 129-131.
Connecticut Valley Furniture; Eliphalet Chapin and His Contemporaries, 1750-1800; Thomas P. Kugelman and Alice
K. Kugelman with Robert Lionetti; Connecticut Historical Society Museum; Hartford, Connecticut; 2005; Catalog
153; Desk-and-bookcase-on-frame; possibly; Glastonbury or Middletown; pp. 332-333.
The slant-front opening to the interior fitted with three drawers flanked by prospect
drawers, and two banks of four cubby holes over four drawers, the lid inlaid with a
spread-winged eagle bearing a shield within alternating mahogany and satinwood inlays
within a block and line border, above four graduated beaded drawers; the beaded
drawers flanked by canted corners inlaid to match the border on the slant lid, the base
inlaid in a dentillated pattern and raised on pointed bracket feet, one document drawer
inscribed on the side in black ink "Prince George Co. Md.," pencil inscriptions "lenth
from Mich,/ Be not stat os on I'll choak you [SIC]/ miss May Shank/ Boarderstown N.J./
Miss Edith Gillberry/ Ty...Pa.," and on the other side in pencil "Property of M.B. Moffit
(?)/ Buffalo, N.Y." Feet restored, else fine. (Dimensions: 45.25" high by 39.25" wide by
20.75" deep; brasses and base restored.)
LITERATURE: Illustrated on the inside cover of "THE MAGAZINE ANTIQUES, January
1934, in an advertisement for Joe Kindig, Jr. The advertisement depicts three examples
of period eagle inlay, with the upper left example from the Guthman desk.
The fall-front lid opens to expose five valanced cubies and a pair of document boxes
featuring block and turned, split and applied facings centering short drawer…flanked by
a pair of longer drawers. The above described resting on a pair of projecting drawers
incised to look like four drawers. The case with four overhanging thumb molded
graduated drawers is raised on a molded base resting on shaped bracket feet; the side
feet joined by ogee skirt, the front featuring a tripart lobed drop finial. NO lip restoration,
old fissure to right proper front foot as depicted; approximately 2-inches of one side foot
is pieced. The brass hardware and interior wood drawer pulls are not original, gramps
applied varnish to blooms near brasses caused by polishing. A very attractive desk in
surface, near perfect two-to-one proportions.
(Height: 41"; writing height: 31"; width: 36.25"; depth: 18")
The case with rectangular hinged lid featuring a leather vapor barrier affixed with brass
upholstery tacks…all within an applied molded edge, the interior fitted with a series of
seven valanced pigeonholes above three short-drawers, one with scrimshaw
escutcheon and original lock. The inside of the lid decoupaged with engravings
depicting “THE GREAT BATTLE OF WATERLOO,” “THE NEW LONDON BRIDGE AS
IT APPEARED AT THE OPENING BY HIS MAJESTY WILLIAM 4TH AUGT 1 1831,”
“THE CORONATION OF THEIR MAJESTIES WILLIAM & ADELAIDE SEPT 8 1831,” a
battle scene and a painted roundel surrounded by a border of cut-out hearts, inlaid on
the front with a diamond escutcheon above a heart flanked by stars, over a molded
serpentine and scroll-shaped base. (A great looking desk in wonderful surface, minor
imperfections consistent with age and use; wear to a couple lobes, ending-out to one
foot; secondary cleat/shoe and both secondary or inner feet on right side are
replaced… NOT the actual foot and skirt. (Height:14.25"; width: 27.5"; depth: 19.75")
Projecting elliptical top having a pair of short drawers above recessed lower case; pair of elliptical doors flanked by concave panels adjacent to block-styles forming case ends and continuing to double-tapered legs. (Minor imperfections and repairs; very attractive and serviceable; height: 33.5"; width: 39.75"; depth: 22")
Stepped interior featuring fan-carved central drawer flanked by document drawers and valanced compartments above short drawers on a case of four graduated long drawers having thumb-molded overhanging drawers. The case, on a molded base, stands on beautifully shaped bandy [cabriole] legs featuring pad feet centering a shaped pendant. In generally excellent condition with minor imperfections commensurate with age and use; left proper rear return is missing yet easily replaced by our expert…brasses are appropriate replacements. Likely New Hampshire, school of Peter Bartlett (1788-1838), Salisbury, New Hampshire.
(Height: 42’, width is 36”, depth: 18.5”, writing surface is 32”.)
Generally very good, wear commensurate with age and use; issues are cosmetic and mentioned for accuracy; minor scratches and wear to top board; typical tight shrinkage cracks to fall board and case sides. Left side with some white scratch marks. Right side partially sun bleached and with horizontal scratch near midsection. Escutcheon and brasses probably replaced. Lid hinges replaced; lid patched accordingly. Some short drawer knobs loose. Inside of one short drawer retains a typed label indicating origin and date. Scuff mark to upper left corner of lowermost drawer. Crack and repairs to right side foot facings. (H: 42.75", writing H: 32", W: 39.75", D: 20.5")
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