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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.
Norway spruce (wood)
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.
Possibly Toppan, Abner, Mr. (Maker)
Newburyport, MA, USA
94 7/8 x 91 1/8 x 43 3/8 (HxWxD) (inches)
Gift of Virginia L. Hodge and Katharine D. Parry
Massachusetts (United States)