Originally belonging to Captain Christopher Marshall of Revolutionary War fame, this mahogany and white pine desk was made in Boston between 1765 and 1790. The desk was expensive not only because the materials were imported, but also because the designer needed a lot of mahogany to fashion the shaped or “block front” drawer fronts.
Though today known as a fall-front desk, such an object might have been called a bureau desk or simply a desk in the 18th century. In an era before safe-deposit boxes, the numerous small and large drawers and lockable spaces provided a secure place in which to store valuables. Since privacy in an early American home could be hard to come by, these kinds of desks provided a confidential place in which to store personal possessions.
The desk was a gift to the DAR Museum from Mrs. Robert H. Davis.
American Spirit, Volume 142, Number 6, November/December 2008, Page 6
Photo by Mark Gulezian/Quicksilver