The Hezekiah Smith Chippendale Carved Mahogany Bonnet-top Block-front Desk and Bookcase, Boston, Massachusetts, c. 1765, in two sections, the upper case with molded swan's neck cresting ending in carved rosettes centering a center plinth and urn and flame finial flanked by finials, and dentil-molding below, above doors with raised scalloped panels flanked by fluted pilasters, opening to a valanced and compartmented interior, and candle slides below, set into the lower section with slant-lid opening to an interior with central fan-carved prospect drawer flanked by carved document drawers, pigeonholes, drawers, and further fan-carved drawers, on a cockbeaded case with graduated drawers on a conformingly shaped molded case joining claw-and-ball feet, old surface, brasses appear to be original, (minor restoration),ht. 92, lower case wd. 42 1/2, dp. at feet 24 1/2 in.
Provenance: Hezekiah Smith (1737-1805),moved to Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1764, and established the Haverhill Baptist Church in May, 1765. This desk and bookcase was listed on his 1805 estate inventory and valued at $40. After his death, it passed to his wife Hepzibah Kimball Smith (1746-1824). Then to Jonathan Kimball Smith. Then likely to his grandson Charles Smith Bradley, New York, New York. Then to his son George Lothrop Bradley, Washington, DC, and Pomfret, Connecticut, the great-great grandson of Hezekiah Smith. Then to his second cousin Henry W. Howe, Bedford Hills, New York, in 1919. Then to his son Henry Wainwright Howe Jr. in 1921. By descent in the family. Purchased by the consignor from Leigh Keno, c. 1998.
Note: According to a statement provided by a previous seller, this desk and bookcase relates to several other known case pieces, possibly by the same unknown maker. One, a chest-on-chest, was offered on January 17, 1997, at Sotheby's auction of Important Americana. Another, a nearly identical desk and bookcase, is in the collection of the Milwaukee Art Museum.
part of central finial professionally restored; shrinkage cracks to door panels; right and left side mid-moldings replaced; repair to front edge of writing surface near hinges and one hinge replaced; some drawer runners replaced; minor replacement to cornice molding; stops on pullout slides missing; possible restoration to front edge of one loper; small patch to top long drawer; small patch to one knee return; lower hinge on prospect door replaced.
Items may have wear and tear, imperfections, or the effects of aging. Any condition statement given, as a courtesy to a client, is only an opinion and should not be treated as a statement of fact. Skinner shall have no responsibility for any error or omission.