PROPERTY FROM A RHODE ISLAND ESTATE
Inscribed “Moses Ives” in chalk on the backboard, this desk and bookcase was the property of Moses Brown Ives (1794-1857), a Brown graduate (1812) and merchant at Brown and Ives in Providence. He was the grandson of Nicholas Brown (1729-1791), the wealthy Providence merchant, and son of Hope Brown (1773-1855) and her husband, Thomas Poynton Ives (1769-1835), also a successful Providence merchant and partner in the Brown family firm. Moses Ives inherited the grand house on Power Street built by his parents in 1805, along with its contents, and he continued to live there with his wife Anne Allen Dorr (1810-1884), who he married in 1833, until his death in 1857. After her death in 1884, the Thomas Pynton Ives house and its contents descended to their daughter Hope Brown Ives (1839-1909), who married Henry Grinnell Russell, and next to her cousin R. H. Ives Goddard in 1910/11.
Certain contents from the Thomas Poynton Ives house, including the celebrated furniture ordered by Nicholas Brown from John Goddard in 1762, were sold in these rooms, Property of the Goddard Family, January 22, 2005, sale 8055. A tea table attributed to John Goddard sold as lot 809 in the sale bears the ink inscription on the underside of the top “M. Brown Ives,” recording Moses Brown Ives’s ownership of the table. This table also has a label in Anne Ives’s handwriting inscribed “Belonged to Mrs. Hope Ives.” A secretary bookcase made in Providence around the same time as this desk was included in the sale as lot 841. Thomas and Hope Ives probably purchased it in Providence for their new home around the time of its completion in 1805.
This desk was likely part of the furnishings of the Thomas Poynton Ives house inherited by Moses Brown Ives and perhaps purchased by his parents from a Providence cabinetmaker in the late eighteenth century. Some pieces of furniture that were original to the house descended through other branches of Thomas and Hope Ives’s family, including a tea table sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 20-21, 2017, sale 9607, lot 4231. This desk-and-bookcase probably descended from Moses Brown Ives to his son, Thomas Poynton Ives (1844-1876), who married Elizabeth Cabot Motley (1846-1928) and through their branch of the family.
1 See Patricia Kane, et al, Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650-1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, CT: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016): no. 62, pp. 319-20. See note 4 on p. 320 for the additional examples.
2 See ibid, no, 61, p. 314-5 and no, 26, pp. 196-7.
3 For similar rosettes, see those on the Joseph Brown desk-and-bookcase made in Providence illustrated in ibid, no. 60, pp. 308-13.
4 See ibid, fig. 2, p. 242 for a desk-and-bookcase owned by Welcome Arnold, the Providence merchant.
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