A particularly attractive example of rural Connecticut origin in wonderful old surface; the secretary in three parts... a desk on frame surmounted by a bookcase, an ambitious and immensely successful effort by a gifted rural cabinetmaker.
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 paneled 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 an 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 displays 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.
Date: Circa 1775
Measurement: Height: 92"; Secretary width: 34.5"; Desk width: 37.5"; Depth: 20"
Material: Cherry primary, poplar, and white pin secondaries
Condition: 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.