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Home | Articles | Chippendale Mahogany Block-and-Shell Slant-Front Desk

Sold to a private collector
Chippendale mahogany block-and-shell slant-front desk
Norwich, Connecticut, late 18th century
H. 43 1/2", W. 44", D. 22 1/2"
Courtesy of C. L. Prickett

Combining regional ingenuity and urban design, this stately desk is a masterpiece of eighteenth-century Connecticut furniture. Its block-and-shell form is inspired by the works of the Townsend-Goddard school associated with Newport, Rhode Island, yet its construction and carved elements indicate it is the work of a highly skilled Norwich, Connecticut, cabinetmaker. Research has revealed that Felix Huntington (1749–1822), a prominent Norwich cabinetmaker of the time, was likely the maker of this desk; a nearly identical example is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Recently conserved, the finish was cleaned to reveal a wonderful early-nineteenth-century surface. In addition, the brasses were custom reproduced after searching through hundreds of patterns to find a suitable match, with the plates drilled specifically for each set of holes. Todd Prickett said of the process, “We were thrilled with the ultimate outcome.”

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