Part of a set. See all set records
"Plum pudding" mahogany, red cedar, chestnut, white pine, brass
Overall: 240 x 108 x 64.8 cm (94 1/2 x 42 1/2 x 25 1/2 in.); Bottom: 121.9 x 107.9 x 36.5 cm (48 x 42 1/2 x 14 3/8 in.)
Gift of Harvey Buchanan in memory of Penelope Draper Buchanan and Dorothy Tuckerman Draper 2012.43.a
This desk and bookcase was likely made for Oliver Wolcott Sr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of Connecticut.
In the 1700s, Newport, Rhode Island, was the fifth largest city in North America and one of the most important centers of shipping and trade along the Eastern Seaboard. Orders for furniture from its celebrated cabinetmakers came in from far and wide. This desk and bookcase was likely made for Oliver Wolcott Sr., a signer of the Declaration of Independence and later governor of the State of Connecticut. Eventually, the desk passed down through his family to Dorothy Draper, an important 20th-century interior decorator, and ultimately to her daughter, Penelope Draper Buchanan, whose husband gave it to the museum after her death—a rare, unbroken line of succession.
Large desks were designed to hold all the necessary components of a gentleman’s office under lock and key: books, papers, pens and ink, and important documents. To serve such a function desks also became complicated masterworks of the cabinetmaker’s art, incorporating many parts from small drawers to large panels cut from a single tree, making them among the most expensive types of furniture available. This desk and bookcase exhibits the characteristic traits of classic Newport furniture—“plum pudding” mahogany, cupcake-like finials, and a carved shell on the inside of the desk.
The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email email@example.com.
To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.
Is something not working on this page? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email email@example.com.