Desk and Bookcase


On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 723

This H-shaped desk and bookcase may be the most unusual example of high-style furniture produced in the Federal period. Its design was inspired by the "Sister's Cylinder Bookcase," plate 38 in Thomas Sheraton's "Cabinet Dictionary" (London, 1803), but the maker substituted a rectangular fall-front desk between the two pedestals for Sheraton's cylindrical one. The decorative details are characteristic of fine Baltimore furniture. The double-line inlay spiraling down the turned legs can be found on at least one other piece of Baltimore furniture. The inscription refers to the date when Roswell Lyman Colt married Margaret Oliver, one of the four daughters of Robert Oliver, a millionaire merchant of Baltimore.

Desk and Bookcase, Mahogany, satinwood, maple, verre églomisé
with cedar, American

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