Desk and Bookcase
Artist/maker unknown, American
The design of this desk and bookcase corresponds to the architecture of the room where it was intended to be placed. It is an ornate example of early Philadelphia furniture and reflects the ways in which the city's craftsmen interpreted the Baroque furniture style with carved Rococo ornament fashionable in England at this time. The glass doors---mirrored with silvered mercury---show an Asian influence: the pattern of their mullions (wood strips) derive from Chinese architecture and furniture.
The family of Philadelphian Anne Shippen Willing commissioned this work, likely upon her marriage to Tench Francis, Jr., a merchant, in 1762. It was a common practice for families, especially Quakers, to provide their daughters with sets of furniture when they married.
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