FEDERAL INLAID-MAHOGANY SECRETARY DESK WITH CHEST OF DRAWERS
American, circa 1810-30
Item # 205PRQ03A
An interesting and somewhat unusual secretary desk constructed in two parts with an upper case that lifts free of the lower base for safe transport. It is designed with a series of equally spaced drawers in the upper over a large fall-front that opens to reveal a gilt-tooled leather writing surface before two drawers situated under a collection of eighteen pigeon-holes and three broader paper slots. The lower base features a pair of drawers set in the simple apron over turned and tapered legs raised on brass castors. All drawers are built in the typical manner with tight hand-cut dovetailing and applied cockbead moldings around the facade. A mixture of mahogany veneers and solid mahogany are used interchangeably for effect with an ebonized stringer-inlay decorating the surface. The entire structure is untouched and fully original other than some strips applied to the underside of the upper drawers to even out some sagging.
All in all a very striking and also quite functional secretary desk.
Measurements: 71 1/2" H x 19 1/8" D x 43 1/4" W; floor to top of writing surface 29 5/8"; lower section 27 1/2" H; upper section 44 5/8" H
Condition Report: Fall-front desk portion does not sit flush into the case [we have not had our conservator look at resetting this due to the shop's current restoration schedule]. All upper drawers with applied strips to the underside to flatten curve of drawer bottoms. Good old surface with extensive scarring and wear, much of it having become an overall oxidized patina. Note scar to left of the lock above fall-front lid. Cockbead molding around left side of fall-front replaced and some chip loss to other cockbead moldings around fall-front; cockbead molding left side of top drawer has lost the smooth portion that frames the drawer; knobs are early and undisturbed, but note that the two knobs above the fall-front are different - there is no scarring or evidence of another knob having set on these, but they are potentially replaced; no keys; some molding losses (bottom of apron at left side, back left where the upper case sits on the lower base; bottom right corner of the upper case (below right corner of the fall-front) with a loss. Drawers inside of the desk area project slightly from their natural positions because of the slight sagging of the pigeon-holes directly above them. Wonderful early leather surface. Overall a very nice presentation, sturdy and ready to place.