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Updyke Rhode Island Desk and Bookcase

Winterthur Collection

The original of this Mahogany desk and bookcase, made for the Updyke family in the 1770s, is one of ten block-fronted examples crafted by members of the Townsend and Goddard families of Kingston and Newport, Rhode Island. Block fronting, or the raised-recessed-raised triad of panels with the shell as an integral part of each, is considered to be uniquely American. The last one remaining in private hands was sold at Christie’s on June 3, 1989 for $12.1 million, a world record-breaking price. The hand carving represents 37 hours by meticulous Kindel artisans to achieve the beautiful and precise look of the original. Seventeen drawers and six compartments line the desk, and the ten separate sections in the bookcase are channeled to allow numerous subdivisions.

Wood Species: Mahogany


  • Width: 45.75" (116.205 cm)
  • Depth: 26.26" (66.7004 cm)
  • Height: 98" (248.92 cm)

Finishes, Fabrics, and Hardware

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