Back in The Tiniest of Details, I wrote about these odd little points on the sides of slant front desks at the transition from vertical to slant. There didn’t seem to be any reason for them, yet they exist.
Believe it or not, I found some more. And as always happens, within a period of two weeks.
The last found was this:
Southern Chippendale Walnut Desk and Bookcase
This lot has sold for $3000.
Description: Attributed to the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, Winchester region, late 18th century, yellow pine and poplar secondary, two-part form, the top featuring a bold cove molded broken arch pediment with applied carved rosettes, a larger open frieze with central applied carved and fluted plinth, with later asymmetrical carved cartouche, two hinged panel doors with applied delicate molding, shelved interior, flanked by reeded quarter columns with arched stop fluting, the desk with a hinged lipped lid with loper supports, divided interior with central prospect door opening to reveal three small drawers, flanked by two fluted document drawers, flanked by four valanced pigeon holes above four small drawers to each side, the case with four graduated drawers with scratch bead and full dust boards, again flanked by reeded quarter columns with reversed arched stop fluting, on ogee bracket foot base.
Size: 103 (to top of finial) 97.5 (to top of pediment) x 41 x 23 in (case width 39 in.)
Condition: Replaced cartouche; replaced feet; replaced pulls; cut and patch repairs at hinged at lid; missing side molding to base of top cabinet; upper case backboards and shelving likely replaced; other restoration; drawer runners rebuilt and later drawer guides.
Estimate: $1,000 – $2,000
Not germane to this discussion, it has a really interesting gallery:
More on this desk shortly. Honest.
More germaner, it is pointy:
The glued on point is supported by a quarter fluted column.
The point on the left is also a glue on.
This desk has smaller points:
Federal Mahogany Diminutive Slant Front Desk
This lot has sold for $550.
Description: Mid-Atlantic, circa 1800, yellow pine and white pine secondary, diminutive dovetailed 33 in wide case, hinged lipped lid, divided interior with prospect door, six drawers and six valanced pigeon holes, four graduated cockbeaded drawers, case raised on straight bracket foot base.
Size: 41 x 34.5 x 20 in.
Condition: Replaced brasses; replaced lid hinges with cut and patchwork at hinge area; lid with cut and patch at escutcheon and lock plate; some cockbeading repair; later lopers; large mar to right side of case; feet appear to be original.
A simple yet honest gallery with replaced hinges.
Thin pins. I want to know how they did that.
And the reason for this blog:
A point. Or, maybe, a pointlet.
You can’t tell from this picture but the point is glued on and part of a thin strip of molding.
The next one is from a local antique shop and comes with no useful information. It’s wood and it’s for sale:
An odd configuration with two drawers in the middle of the stack. One over two over two?
A unique gallery.
The point (hump?) glued onto the molding glued on to front of the carcass.
The last one is the most interesting of the lot. The desk is the fanciest of the lot and the point is the most integrated in the design.
Antique Continental Secretary Desk
This lot has sold for $700.
Description: 8th century, rosewood and burlwood veneers, oak secondary, herringbone handed decoration throughout, slant front lid opens to reveal a divided and drawered interior with sliding storage writing panel opens to a hollow interior with hidden compartment, lower case with two over two graduated drawers on straight bracket foot base.
Size : 41 x 36 x 20 in.
Condition: Refinished with restoration throughout; case and drawers reworked; some veneer chips, cracks and lifting; no key; later brasses.
If you study the above picture you will note that there is no drawer between the lopers (pull out supports for the hinged slant top). If you have been paying attention over the years you will realize that this means there is a storage compartment where the drawer ought to be. This area is concealed by a sliding panel accessible from the gallery.
Elaborate gallery with the access panel closed.
Elaborate gallery with access panel open.
As the description states, the desk is extensively veneered.
Although veneered, the point still looks like it’s glued on.
After examining four more desks, I still don’t know the why the point exists. In some of the desks, they might protect the lower corners of the slant but that doesn’t seem to be true of all.
No answer. I’ll keep looking.