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Category: Desks and Bookcases
Maker: Lash, Steve
Contact: 4331 Geisler Ct.
Bloomfield Hills, MI 48301
Email: email:
Dimensions: H 41 1/4" x W 45" x D 22 1/2".

DESCRIPTION: This desk is a reproduction of the desk portion of the “John Brown" block front secretary that was made by the Townsend/Goddard family of cabinetmakers, Newport, Rhode Island. The original (1760-1770) is located at the Yale University Art Gallery in the Mable Brady Garvan Collection. The John Brown desk and bookcase is one of three similar secretaries made for the brothers Joseph, John and Nicholas Brown (a fourth, for Moses was apparently long ago destroyed by fire). The Nicholas Brown desk was sold at auction in 1989 for $12,100.000.

The reproduction is constructed of mahogany, chestnut, pine and poplar. Unlike the original, the carved shells on the fall front are not applied, but entirely hand carved from solid mahogany. The cock beading around the drawers is also carved and not applied. The brasses are by Ball and Ball, Exton, PA and are facsimiles of the original. The chestnut was harvested in c. 1939 and is used for the large desk drawers and case back. The desk compartment drawers are of pine and the drawer division frames are of poplar. There are twenty-nine drawers in the desk. Within the desk compartment there are twenty-two drawers and six of these drawers are hidden. In the lower portion of the desk, aside from the three major drawers, there are four other hidden drawers and a serving slide.

The desk is finished in shellac and wax.

WOODS: Mahogany with secondary woods of chestnut, pine, and poplar.

DATE: 1981
PROVENANCE: 1983 Featured in Fine Woodworking’s DESIGN BOOK THREE.
1999. Pictured in Woodwork 58:13-14