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Desk and Bookcase

1780-1795
Origin: America, Virginia, Petersburg
OH: 83 3/4"; OW: 39 7/8"; OD: 23 1/8"
Mahogany and yellow pine.
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 1991-433
Appearance: Two part desk and bookcase; upper bookcase section with molded, coved cornice; flat scratch-beaded door frames with quarter round interior molding and flat door panels; three adjustable shelves; cove-over-half-round waist molding; slant-top lower desk section with central prospect door surrounded by four pigeon-holes on either side below which are two short drawers, below prospect and drawers are three longer drawers upon a thin platform with filleted quarter round leading edge, prospect and drawer ranks separated by double headed blades, behind prospect are two additional drawers and a small upper pigeon hole; below desk assembly are four scratch-beaded drawers, one long drawer, with lid supports on either side, over two adjacent short drawers over two additional long drawers; brass bail and rosette pulls and escutcheons; filleted quarter round base molding; straight bracket feet, ogee shaped on interior surface.

Construction: all elements of mahogany except as noted; cornice glued and nailed to yellow pine interior frame which in turn is attached to yellow pine blocks that are set onto the case top, two long on either side and two across front; upper case sides dovetailed to yellow pine top and bottom boards which have 5/8" blades; doors hung on brass butt hinges; door panels set into grooves, frame members are through-tenoned; shelves adjustable on full-length dadoes cut into case sides; vertical, half-lapped yellow pine back boards; waist molding glued and nailed to 2" wide blade along front and 2" wide yellow pine blade on sides that form an attachment frame for attachment to desk - top of desk section has corresponding frame consisting of exterior blades, full-length yellow pine strips on sides and a single 6" yellow pine strip along front upon which bookcase rests, with two additional yellow pine blocks, slightly higher than the front block, that are attached to the desk top behind the front blade assembly on the bookcase, thereby keeping the upper case from sliding off of the desk; pigeon hole dividers on desk interior are set into dadoes in case top and V-shaped notches below; desk drawers separated by yellow pine dividers with 2" wide mahogany blades; interior drawers have flat bottom panels set side-to-side in rabbets and flush nailed front and rear, dovetailed side with half pins top and bottom with bottom pin above drawer bottom; drawers on lower case have flat, but coarsely planed bottom panels (side-to-side), flush nailed at rear and set in rabbets on drawer sides, beveled along front and set in groove, full length yellow pine glue strips on sides, mitered and beveled at rear, and along front with notches cut out where contact is made with thin yellow pine drawer stops that are nailed to dustboards and chamfered at front, dovetailed drawer side construction with half pins at top and bottom, the latter set above the bottom of the drawers; 5" long blade separates short drawers, behind which is an addition 1" tall, full length yellow pine divider; top and bottom boards of lower case are dovetailed to sides; base molding is attached alongside and front to full-length yellow pine strips that are glued and nailed to case bottom, additional 6" yellow pine blocks continue around either end on rear of case bottom; original vertically laminated yellow pine feet were set onto shaped flankers (one-half of one block remains), mitered at corners, that in turn were glued/nailed onto above strips; bracket feet are mitered at corners and glued and nailed to case bottom and blocks.








Label:Descended in the Joseph Faust family of New Braunfels, Texas, who moved there from Petersburg in the 1840's. This desk is part of a large case furniture group made in Petersburg and inspired by earlier Williamsburg pieces.
Provenance:Descended in the Joseph Faust family of New Braunfels, Texas, who moved there from Petersburg in the 1840s. John Faust, a cabinetmaker, performed some restorations to the case in the 1920s. It was sold at the sale of Joseph Faust's estate and purchased by a private individual and sold to vendor by his attorney.
Inscription(s):Signed in ink "J.B. Grigg/ Dinwiddie/ November 2, 1838" on interior drawer bottom.