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Secretary Desk and Bookcase

1942.1200 (RS24498)

Description

Secretary desk and bookcase. Mahogany, birch top and bottom, white pine and other secondary wood. Scrolled pediment topped by three flame finials surmount bookcase. Outermost two finials rest on fluted plinths. Carved decorative pinwheel at center of pediment. Ogee moldings on bookcase doors. Futed pilasters carved at outer edges of each door. Doors open to reveal bookcase interior featuring seven pigeonholes with molded cornices, six shelves of varied sizes that surmount a row of four small drawers and two door supports. Beveled lid supports. Desk interior features. Three drawer faces feature carved pinwheels. Bottom possibly made by Abner Toppan of Newburyport, circa 1775-1800.

Details

Label
Displayed in the "Newbury Furniture" exhibit in the SPNEA One Bowdoin Square Gallery May 2, 2000 through October 6, 2000. See object file for complete exhibit label.
The scrolled pediment and ogee-molded door panels of this desk and bookcase resemble those of Boston-made varieties. However, its fluted plinths and the diagonal supports on the bonnet are idiosyncrasies of northeastern Massachusetts shops, particularly of the Newburyport area. The carved, flower-like pinwheels that appear beneath the plinth and flank the pigeonholes of the desk's interior were motifs typical of coastal Essex County. Such northeastern Massachusetts details echo the work of cabinetmaker Abner Toppan, who produced a similar desk and bookcase that descended in the prominent Newburyport Bannister family. Comparisons to other pieces thought to be made by Abner Toppan, suggest that he may have made this desk as well.<br/>
Maker
Possibly Toppan, Abner, Mr. (Maker)
Date
1775-1800
Location of origin
Newburyport, MA, USA
Material
Norway spruce (wood)
cherry (wood)
Object type
Furniture
Places
Massachusetts (United States)
Descriptive terms
Cherry
cherry (wood)
Chippendale
desks
Norway spruce (wood)
Pine
secretaries (furniture)
Secretary
shelves
Dimensions
94 7/8 x 91 1/8 x 43 3/8 (HxWxD) (inches)
Accession Number
1942.1200
Credit Line
Gift of Virginia L. Hodge and Katharine D. Parry
GUSN
11611

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