Thistlethwaite Americana | Secretary Bookcase from Connecticut
We pride ourselves on presenting distinctive fine and decorative arts from the 18th through the 20th century highlighting great American design.
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Secretary Bookcase from Connecticut

Circa 1800
Cherry and white pine
36.5″ W; 84″ H; 18.5″ D


Everything about this desk and bookcase is unconventional, even by Connecticut standards. In decoration, this desk has few rival for exuberance in carved details. While carved shells and sunbursts are used with abandon in the region, this example boasts 14 sunbursts decorating the numerous drawer fronts and fall front.  Chip, punch and incised carving  decorates the door frame, the exterior rectangular drawer fronts and pigeonhole valences. The decorative shaping of the apron and bracket feet is also fanciful and unusual.


The form of the desk and its interior is straightforward, but the upper bookcase section is likely one of a kind. Six square drawers with carved fronts vertically frame each side of the actual bookcase; two horizontal drawers frame the top and bottom.


This desk and bookcase is a catalog of a particular cabinetmaker’s talents abundantly expressed in a practical piece of case furniture. Whether the design was the cabinetmaker’s or the client’s, the result is a whimsical desk in a very desirable and small size for the Americana collector of the unusual.


WHY WE LOVE IT: This charming secretary bookcase has a wonderful scale and a fantastic folk quality.  I mean, look at all those fans and drawers!  How can you beat that?