Pedestal Desk, about 1830
Stephen Smith & Co., Boston (active 1829–at least 1860)
Mahogany (secondary woods: ash and poplar), with leather top, tooled
29 11/16 in. high, 48 1/4 in. wide, 28 1/4 in. deep
Signed (in top left drawer, with stencil): STEPHEN SMITH & CO. / MANUFACTURER / [next line or two lines illeg.; from a related desk also signed by Smith with an identical stencil, the entire text of the stenciled label in this desk can be established as the following: STEPHEN SMITH & CO. / MANUFACTURERS OF / BANK & OFFICE FURNITURE / 51 & 53 [Co]RNHILL BOSTON].
This desk, originally the property of Nathan Appleton (1779–1861), who lived at 39 Beacon Street, Boston, falls neatly within the aesthetic of Boston furniture of the 1820s and 1830s, displaying simple, unadorned surfaces of mahogany and mahogany veneers, turned wooden knobs, and, stylistically, a strong dependence on English Regency forms.
Although the use of poplar and ash as secondary woods indicate the American origin of this desk, this is further confirmed by the presence of a stenciled stamp in the upper left drawer, which reads: stephen smith & co. / manufacturer / [next line or two lines illeg.].