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A Chippendale Serpentine Mahogany Slant-top Desk, Boston, c.1790


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This interesting desk is composed of wonderful wood throughout. It retains its first surface, which does not always bring out the mahogany’s inherent qualities. While the mahogany is of the same tree, the cabinetmaker selected the areas where the fiddle curl was prominent for best display, see the top board and feet and top drawer of desk.

The top lid and prospect door show a good composition around the slab cut of mahogany. Note the hinges and locks are absolutely first and unaltered. It is interesting to note that this desk, with its inlaid prospect door and serpentine front, relates to work done by Benjamin Frothingham, (see two examples from Boston Furniture of the 18th Century: shown below).  It is also interesting to note that Frothingham was known for his use of exotic woods.

Wood quality aside, this desk exhibits the hand of a superb craftsman, specifically, the top board is "blind dovetailed" into the case, full drawer blades are used to separate the drawers, the sides are each of a single board, and unusually, the backboard is fully glued and has pulled away from the sides due to shrinkage, rather than cracking in the center.

Note also the old Rosehead nails. The feet are an interesting form usually seen on grand secretaries wherein the sides are curved toward each other in a symmetrical, plinth-like form.

Height: 41 3/4 in. Width: 41 3/4 in. Depth: 22 3/4 in.
$18,500
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