SOLD! for $5,760.00.
(Note: Prices realized include a buyer's premium.)
- Low Estimate: $4,000.00
- High Estimate: $4,500.00
- Realized: $5,760.00
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Boston Chippendale mahogany block-front secretary-desk or desk and bookcase. Two part construction, white pine secondary wood and possibly sycamore on drawer sides. Top section with molded broken arch pediment and three flame finials, over a dentil molded cornice; two serpentine molded paneled doors flanked by columnar pilasters, opening to three book shelves. Desk with finely veneered slant front having cleated ends, opening to a fitted interior with prospect section having two half turned columnar hidden drawers flanking two short drawers, over a bank of three long drawers; four open cubbyholes and six side drawers; hidden compartment behind drawer section. Block front lower case with four graduated, dovetailed drawers with original brass batwing pulls and escutcheons, drawer sides with lip molding, on abbreviated cabriole legs with claw and ball feet. A second set of three ball-shaped finials is included. 96" H including flame finials x 44" W at base x 22-1/2" D to front block. Boston area, late 18th century and later components. Provenance: The estate of Dr. Benjamin H. Caldwell, Nashville, Tennessee. Illustrated and briefly discussed in the article on the Caldwells' home published in The Magazine Antiques, Sept. 1971, p. 438. Note: Staining to top of desk section suggests top and base may be associated. Modifications appear to have been made, likely in the early 20th century, changing the lower section from a straight front desk to a blockfront desk. Dr. Caldwell corresponded with both Winterthur and Israel Sack, Inc. regarding this piece in 1965. Winterthur responded in part: "Mr. Sweeney (John A. H. Sweeney) has asked me to reply to your letter concerning your block-front secretary. He believes that it is entirely possible for your secretary to be of eighteenth-century origin. Gluing on the blocking was not uncommon. As you observe on your desk, it was always carefully done." Albert M. Sack responded in part:"The only answer I can give you from your description is that Boston was a center for rebuilding blockfronts from straight fronts 30 to 40 years ago and applying blocks. I have seen a few Connecticut pieces with blocks applied but can't recall seeing a Massachusetts example but there is no reason why it could not have been done. I would say that if the ball & claw feet are original with the blocking conforming to the contour of the front, it would make it a hard piece to convert." CONDITION: Top and base most likely associated. Modifications appear to have been made in the early 20th century, changing the lower section from a straight front desk to a blockfront desk. Bookcase extended in depth by 1/2 inch and desk extended in depth by 1-3/4 inch. Ball and claw feet are likely later than the period. Doors on top case appear to be modified. Repaired break to pediment and central plinth across frieze. Two replaced slats on the bonnet top. Some age cracks to drop front lid, longest 33-1/2" L located 1" from bottom edge. Three other age cracks measuring approx. 4", 6-3/4" and 9-1/2" L located to left or right sides from edge. 3-1/4" L loss to right top thumb-molding of slant lid present but not reglued. Wood section (7/8" x 1/8") along top edge plus lockplate missing on desk. Some abrasions to interior molding of bracket feet and along sides of case.