Thistlethwaite Americana | Secretary Bookcase Attributed to New Britain, Connecticut
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Inventory

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Secretary Bookcase Attributed to New Britain, Connecticut

Attributed to New Britain, Connecticut
Circa 1780
Cherry, white pine, poplar
96 x 41-1/2 x 20 in.

 

A beautifully conceived desk and bookcase that is bold and arresting representing the talents of a first rate cabinetmaker. The upper case has a boldly formed scroll pediment, with big, carved rosettes, and a striking applied carving on the tympanum. The tombstone paneled doors open to a complex fitted interior with two doors carved in the same tympanum design, but in relief. When opened, the prospect doors reveal horizontal pigeonholes over a drawer carved in the same design. The lower case has a finely fitted desk interior set with five carved drawers over four full size drawers. The case has large, expressive brasses sympathetic to the bold form and the original tall bracket feet add to the vertical presence of this desk and bookcase.

 

Unlike most New England furniture, this desk has a tall commanding presence that is rarely seen, creating a very vertical appearance. The desk was designed to go into one of the most elegant homes.

 

Provenance:
Property of Hyman Kaufman, Boston, MA, sold by American Art Galleries/Anderson Galleries, New York April 12-14, 1934. Lot 327;
Private Collection;
Mrs. Frank Bien, Morristown, New Jersey, 1954, pictured in Antiques Magazine, November 1954;
David Stockwell, pictured in Antiques Magazine, April 1956;
Jean A. Dupont, Delaware;
John E. Dupont, Delaware;
Anthony S. Werneke, New York;
Purchased by the Alspaugh’s at the Winter Antiques Show, New York, 2002, from Anthony Werneke Antiques (accompanied by copy of receipt); Collection of Laurence and Helen Alspaugh, Greensboro, North Carolina

Category:
Description

Attributed to New Britain, Connecticut
Circa 1780
Cherry, white pine, poplar
41.5″ W; 96″ H; 20″ D

 

A beautifully conceived desk and bookcase that is bold and arresting representing the talents of a first rate cabinetmaker. The upper case has a boldly formed scroll pediment, with big, carved rosettes, and a striking applied carving on the tympanum. The tombstone paneled doors open to a complex fitted interior with two doors carved in the same tympanum design, but in relief. When opened, the prospect doors reveal horizontal pigeonholes over a drawer carved in the same design. The lower case has a finely fitted desk interior set with five carved drawers over four full size drawers. The case has large, expressive brasses sympathetic to the bold form and the original tall bracket feet add to the vertical presence of this desk and bookcase.

Unlike most New England furniture, this desk has a tall commanding presence that is rarely seen, creating a very vertical appearance. The desk was designed to go into one of the most elegant homes.

 

Provenance:
Property of Hyman Kaufman, Boston, MA, sold by American Art Galleries/Anderson Galleries, New York April 12-14, 1934. Lot 327;
Private Collection;
Mrs. Frank Bien, Morristown, New Jersey, 1954, pictured in Antiques Magazine, November 1954;
David Stockwell, pictured in Antiques Magazine, April 1956;
Jean A. Dupont, Delaware;
John E. Dupont, Delaware;
Anthony S. Werneke, New York;
Purchased by the Alspaugh’s at the Winter Antiques Show, New York, 2002, from Anthony Werneke Antiques (accompanied by copy of receipt); Collection of Laurence and Helen Alspaugh, Greensboro, North Carolina

 

WHY WE LOVE IT: Besides having an unbelievable provenance, this secretary bookcase is simply stunning.  From the “gingko-leaf” carving to the wonderful finish, it is that one piece that you have to stop and look at.