IMPORTANT AMERICAN FURNITURE FROM THE COLLECTION OF W. FORBES AND JANE RAMSEY
Townsend’s flat-fronted case furniture consisted principally of desks like the present example with four graduated thumbnail-edged drawers, interiors of a standard Newport design, and ogee bracket feet. Typical of Townsend’s work, this desk displays a prospect door shell carved with consummate skill with flowing lobes and with his distinctive central C-scroll contained within an incised border. Heckscher notes that about a dozen other desks and one desk-and-bookcase survive of consistent design that can be linked to Townsend because of that distinctive attribute. Included among these is one initialed “IT” pictured in a Harry Arons advertisement in The Magazine Antiques (July 1968): 37 and a desk with a partial Townsend label sold in these rooms, Important Americana, January 20-23, 2005, sale 8053, lot 1193. The desk-and-bookcase also with a closed bonnet descended from its original owner, Jonathan Nichols (1700-1774), and is currently in a private collection.2 A desk with a similar interior sold at Northeast Auctions, March 1-2, 2003, lot 470.
1 Heckscher, Morrison, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, New York, 2005, no. 17, p. 108.
2 Heckscher, no. 29, pp. 134-5.
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