Butler’s Desk and Etagére, about 1825
New York, possibly by Duncan Phyfe
Mahogany (secondary woods: mahogany, pine, poplar), with ormolu mounts, marble, and brass
54 in. high, 36 5/8 in. wide, 23 5/8 in. deep
EX COLL.: Buffalo, New York, collection, and by descent, until 2016
This unusual butler's desk include what appears to be a long drawer, but is actually a drop front that pulls down to form a baize-lined writing surface, with cubbyholes behind. Above the lowest of the three marble surfaces is a pair of doors revealing a storage cabinet presumably for miscellaneous household papers. Another related piece is a small sideboard that was included in the Duncan Phyfe exhibition at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, in 2011–12 (see Peter M. Kenny, Michael K. Brown, Frances F. Bretter, and Matthew A. Thurlow, Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York, exhib. cat. [New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2011], pp. 270–71 plate 67).