This attractive desk and bookcase is an important early example of formal Providence case furniture. The piece has superior scale and proportions combined with choice materials and distinctive inlay. Patricia Kane of Yale University Art Gallery has examined this piece in her extensive study of Rhode Island furniture and conclusively affirmed the Providence attribution.
The raised bookcase is comprised of double cabinet doors beneath a broken arched bonnet top, fitted with turned baluster form finials. The tympanum of the bonnet has a line inlaid border around three inlaid mariner stars. . The bonnet is has fitted with rectangular plinths. The tympanum conforms to the tombstone-form cabinet doors. The doors have raised molded panels with line-inlaid borders centering mariner stars. Each door has terrific Queen Anne engraved lock escutcheons and are hung on equally fine “H” form hinges. The doors open to a intricately fitted interior with symmetrical drawers and cubbies with shaped dividers. The large central prospect door is flanked by reed columns, which conceal hidden drawers. The base of the bookcase has a pair of candle slides with brass knobs.
The slant front desk has a similar panel front with a matching inlay motif. The desk has a finely fitted interior above a bank of four drawers. Each drawer has line-inlaid perimeters and fantastic engraved brass hardware and lock escutcheons. The desk rests on a molded base with bun feet. The period molding and feet are associated.
Height 95¾”; Width, 37½”; Depth, 23”