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Hepplewhite Style Library Desk

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Hepplewhite Style Library Desk


29 in. x 52 in. (73.66 cm x 132.08 cm)

Bryn Mawr College
Accession Number: W.40
Deanery.406 (Deanery Number)
Classification: Furnishings and Furniture; Furniture; Desk
Collection: Deanery Collection
Bryn Mawr College, Wyndham Alumnae House, 1st Floor

Four-legged library desk with five drawers. Two drawers are on either side of a larger central drawer. Desk is decorated with fan-shaped inlay designs on the corners of each drawer, the spandrels below the central drawer, and the spandrels below the side drawers. This inlaid decoration appears on the reverse of the desk as well. Each drawer also has a large visible keyhole set in a metal oval. Legs are square and straight, except for a small square protrusion near the bottom.

Hepplewhite style refers to furniture created in the 19th century that emulates the work of the 18th century English cabinetmaker, George Hepplewhite (1727?-1786). The 19th century saw the revival and coexistence of many styles. The recreation of Hepplewhite’s designs was made possible through the posthumous publication of a book of his designs,
The Cabinetmaker and Upholsterer’s Guide (1788), by his widow. The designs published in Hepplewhite’s book are a distinctly simplified version of European Neoclassicism, whose classical forms and decoration were inspired by the contemporary rediscovery of the classical world through archaeology. The adoption of European Neoclassicism in America is also often referred to as the Federal Style.

Keywords Click a term to view the records with the same keyword
This object has the following keywords:
  • desks - Various forms of furniture for readers or writers, generally having a flat writing surface and often drawers and other compartments.
  • Hepplewhite - Refers to English and American furniture following the designs of English cabinetmaker and designer George Hepplewhite published posthumously in 1788. Typical of the Neoclassical style of the last quarter of the 18th century, the style is characterized by shield-back chairs, bow-fronted chests of drawers, Marlboro legs and decorative motifs including Prince of Wales feathers, ears of wheat, urns, and rosettes.
  • marquetry - The technique in which small pieces of specially shaped wood, or sometimes other materials such as ivory, are incorporated into a suface of decorative veneer. Distinguished from "inlay," where decorative pieces are set into a solid ground; in marquetry, the entire surface is veneered.
  • wood - The principal tissue of trees and other plants that provides both strength and a means of conducting nutrients. Wood is one of the most versatile materials known.

Bibliography List
The following Bibliography exist for this object:

Comparanda List
The following Comparanda exist for this object:
  • Milo M. Naeve, Identifying American Furniture (Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press, 1998), 24-25.
  • Joseph T. Butler, Field Guide to American Antique Furniture (New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company, 1985), 48-58.

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<ref name=BMC>cite web |url= |title=Hepplewhite Style Library Desk |author=Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections |accessdate=4/10/2021 |publisher=Bryn Mawr College</ref>

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