Newport Kneehole Bureau

Pete Michelinie
of Woodstock

The top and sides came from the same 20″ wide solid mahogany board and were flattened and thicknessed by hand. Specially ground knives were made in order to replicate the moldings found on the original Townsend bureau. The Newport shell carvings, two convex and one concave, adorn the top drawer. Said to mark the high point of early American furniture making, these naturalistic shells are very systematic in both design and carving execution. Each drawer is shaped inside and out and dressed with a hand cut half-mortised lock and an antiqued brass pull and escutcheon. Steep delicate dovetails were a trademark of the Townsend/Goddard family’s work. The blocked ogee foot terminates just above the ground with a delicate scroll.

Made of South American Mahogany, Poplar and brass. Finished with linseed oil, brushed shellac and wax.

The original bureau was made in the late 1700’s in Newport, RI by Edmund Townsend of the Townsend/Goddard family, Newport’s renowned furniture makers. Edmund, a Quaker and cousin of John Townsend, was the most prolific of all his contemporaries. An iconic piece of early American furniture, the Newport block-front kneehole bureau is among the most refined forms to date. This is a replica of Edmund’s piece which now resides at the RISD Museum in Providence, RI.

Photos of the bureau in the making…

Working drawings available for purchase.  Inquiries welcome.

Dimensions: 36 1/2 " W x 32 3/4 " T x 20" D

Price: $17,550

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