Federal Mahogany, Wavy Birch, and Bird's-eye Maple Inlaid Glazed Desk Bookcase, Joseph Murphy, South Berwick, Maine, c. 1815, the top drawer with fall front opens to a central inlaid prospect door and hidden interior drawers with flanking drawers and valanced compartments, all on slightly flaring base centering a rectangular drop panel, brasses appear to be original, old surface, (imperfections), ht. 89 1/4, wd. 40 3/4, dp. 19 3/4 in.
Provenance: The descendants of Sarah Orne Jewett, South Berwick, Maine.
Note: The top of the lower section is branded "JOSEPH MURPHY." According to information provided by the Old Berwick Historical Society (www.obhs.net), Joseph Murphy was a cabinetmaker who owned a shop in the early 1800s in South Berwick, Maine. Sarah Orne Jewett's sister Mary Rice Jewett wrote about him that "Joseph Murphey [sic]… was a cabinet maker of much skill, to which many pieces of old furniture to be found in [South Berwick's] houses can attest."
eagle and urn finials appear to be original; base with old repairs; veneer cracking, damage and losses; projecting shelf in lower section is stained; shrinkage crack to left side of lower case; baise interior of writing surface appears to be original; one urn-shaped ivory escutcheon remains - others are replaced or absent; two glazed panels broken (one with loss)