Newport Style Chippendale Writing Desk
This Chippendale writing desk was built as a reproduction based on a very famous card table built by John Goddard in Newport, Rhode Island in 1760. In Michael Moses' well known reference book The Master Craftsmen of Newport, Moses describes this particular card table: "Card table associated with John Goddard c. 1760. Courtesy, The Bayou Bend Collection, The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. H-27 1/2 in, W - 34 in. Mahogany. This card table has blocked ends and a well under the double hinged foldover tops. The cabriole legs are square in section and have knee carving and foot design similar to the card tables previously described." (Moses, p. 231)
Writing desks did not really exist as a furniture style in 18th century Rhode Island. The closest furniture forms were lowboys and dressing tables. My customer was interested in a writing desk that was built in the style of a Newport piece but would function in a modern house as a desk, occasional table or even a computer table. Similar to the original card table upon which the design is based, the writing surface is hinged at the back allowing it to be lifted for access to a storage well. This well is large enough to accommodate a laptop computer for storage. The ball and claw feet on the front legs are carved in the highly stylized Newport fashion with the open talon claws and undercut ball. The front knees are also carved with a traditional Newport style carving.
In keeping with the original Newport preference for fine grained Mahogany, I chose Mahogany for this reproduction. The overall size of the writing desk is 34" wide x 21" deep x 28 3/4" high. The size, style, wood selection, and coloring can be customized to suit the customer's requirements.
The photo below show the original card table upon which this piece was designed on the left and my recreation as a writing desk on the right.
Primary construction is solid Mahogany with poplar for bottom panel of the storage well.
The dimensions are approximately 28.5" high x 34" wide x 21" deep
The top of the writing desk is a beautifully grained board - hinged at the back for access to a storage well approximately 4" deep.
Mortise and tenon joinery throughout the piece.
Hand carved Newport style ball and claw feet on the front legs. (Available on all 4 legs.)
Newport style pad feet on the rear legs. (Available on all 4 legs.)
Newport style cabriole legs with hand carved knees on the front legs.
All hardware is reproduction quality solid brass.
This writing desk was finished with a hand rubbed shellac finish - then buffed and waxed to a satiny sheen.
Other woods, styles and finishes are available
Photo showing storage well under hinged lid.
Detail photos below showing traditional Newport style knee carving and read pad foot.
Detail views of the Newport style Ball & Claw Feet