Writing desk

Object Number: 
INV.756ab
Date: 
1840-1880
Medium: 
Wood, tortoise shell, brass, textile, glass, metal, cedar, paper, wax
Dimensions: 
Overall: 5 3/4 × 13 3/8 × 12 in. (14.6 × 34 × 30.5 cm)
Marks: 
printed: on first slip of paper: "There's a smile on thy lip and a charm in thine eye,/Which bewitches, enchants me - I can not tell why -/Resistless their power, unbounded their sway ;/I behold, am enslaved, but how I can't say." printed: on second slip
Description: 
Writing desk with wooden frame overlaid by boulle work (inlaid marquetry of brass and tortoise shell, stained red); frame in the form of high, curved top (with flat back) descending to slant-top desk, with hinged lids meeting at center where top and desk open out; curved lid opens to reveal tiered filing compartments, cut in scallops and points; slant-top lid folds out as writing surface, covered in green velvet with embossed borders, in front of narrow space divided into five compartments (with one compartment divided by wooden tray), with two corners each containing a square glass bottle with brass top with engraved decoration and central compartment containing ink extractor (for removing inkstains), paper sack with 74 tiny tacks, two pieces of red sealing wax, three scraps of paper printed with lines of poetry, four pen nibs, and tiny black and white photograph of woman with hat on metal surface; top half of writing surface can be pulled forward to reveal lower part of desk interior.
Gallery Label: 
This desk belonged to Mrs. Eugene A. Livingston (Elizabeth R. Fisher, d. 1878), who lived at 16 W. 36th Street.
Credit Line: 
Bequest of Goodhue Livingston, 1951
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group