Attributed to Duncan Phyfe (Scottish, 17701854)
New York City
Mahogany, satinwood, tulip poplar, pine; 95 1/2 x 48 1/2 x 21 1/4 in. (242.6 x 121.3 x 53.1 cm)
Purchase, The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation Gift, in memory of Berry B. Tracy, 1985 (1985.236a,b)
Without a label, signature, or stamp to identify the maker, curators cannot be completely certain which cabinetmaker made a particular object. However, through the process of attributing a piece of furniture, they can tentatively associate the work with a specific shop tradition based on aspects of design, materials, and construction techniques. The exacting craftsmanship, first-quality woods, and sleek interpretation of the English Regency style found in this desk and bookcase suggest Phyfe's manufactory. Furthermore, the spiral-fluted ellipsoids above the tapered legs are found on a labeled Phyfe worktable in the Winterthur Museum collection. Such links to marked works help to reinforce an attribution.