Feb 12, 2008
Feb 13, 2008
Feb 12, 2008

Desk and Bookcase

Desk and Bookcase

c. 1780

Part of a set. See all set records

Mahogany and pine, brass hardware, gilding

Overall: 241.9 x 106 x 56.5 cm (95 1/4 x 41 3/4 x 22 1/4 in.)

Bequest of Mrs. Lawrence Hitchcock 1990.96


Did you know?

A desk and bookcase in the 1700s, often equipped with several locks and keys as in this example, served as a self-contained office for the gentleman of the household.


During the 1700s, a desk and bookcase, sometimes called a bureau in early inventories, was among the largest and most expensive pieces of furniture in a household. Their owners were chiefly businessmen and community leaders, and because of their function as repositories for personal letters and documents, they were usually placed downstairs in a back parlor or hall. A desk and bookcase consisted of two parts: usually a slant-top desk below and a cabinet above that sat within moldings applied to the desktop to hold it in place. The form often included elements derived from contemporary architecture. Like much New England furniture of the later 1700s, the lower section of this example is block-fronted, in which the profile recedes in the center and protrudes at either side. Though some European precedents can be found for block fronting, this type of cabinetry was clearly more popular in America than anywhere else.

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance, may not be currently accurate. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

All images and data available through Open Access can be downloaded for free. For images not available through Open Access, a detail image, or any image with a color bar, request a digital file from Image Services.