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This fall-front desk has an interior with seven carved fans. The central falling door of the cabinet has a reverse blocked front with a large fan, as do the outer tiers of three drawers. In between are two shaped and blocked drawers, each with two pigenoholes above with small pen drawers...

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Inside of the backboards is inscribed: "ARDS / [and] D [?} RI."


The inscription, which is presumably D or H RICHARDS before it was cut in half, is unidentified. The desk was owned by Jonathan O'Dell (1737-1818) of Newark, N.J., a minister who lived in Burlington and Mt. Holly, N.J., from 1767 to 1776, and went to England in 1783 as Sir Guy Carleton's secretary, returning in the same year to Fredericktown, N.B. The desk was inherited by his son, Hon. William Hunter O'Dell of Halifax, N.S., and descended in his family. The history suggests that this Massachusetts desk was exported to New Jersey where it was acquired by Jonathan O'Dell. At the death of the last O'Dell owner in Halifax, the desk was placed at auction, where it was acquired by a woman from whom, four years later, it was purchased by Leon David, a Boston dealer. Purchsed from Leon ca. 1940 by Miss Mary Thacher, Yarmouthport, Mass.;1940, gift of Miss Mary Thacher (Accession Date December 12, 1940)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Mary Thacher

about 1760

Object Place

Probably Boston or Essex County, New England, United States

Catalogue Raisonné

Randall 58


Overall: 114.6 x 103.5 x 59.7 cm (45 1/8 x 40 3/4 x 23 1/2 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, white pine




Furniture, Case Furniture and Boxes