DESCRIPTION: upper case with molded cornice above two raised arched panel doors; two adjustable shelves with double bead molding along front edge slide into grooves in the bookcase sides; bottom shelf comprised of 8 pigeon holes above four drawer openings with two drawers in outermost openings; candle slides located below bookcase doors; lower case desk with lockable hinged fall board concealing a writing/storage interior; writing interior features central prospect door (replaced) flanked by document drawers faced with Doric columns and banks of drawers; each bank of drawers is comprised of one over two over three drawers most with original brass knobs; bottom drawers rest upon quarter round molding; prospect door conceals a shelf; case front composed of four graduated drawers; each possesses quarter round lip molding; top drawer flanked by fall-board supports; horizontal yellow pine interior batten dovetailed into sides at rear of first drawer cavity; base molding features a quarter round profile (replaced) supported by bracket feet (replaced).
MAKER: This desk and bookcase is attributed to Peter Scott based on its close structural similarity to a documented Custis family bureau table at Mount Vernon. A handful of desks and bookcases have histories of ownership across the York River in Gloucester County, Virginia. This one descended there in the Vaughan family.
Scott’s construction methods and choice of woods strongly suggest that he trained in an urban British cabinet shop during the first two decades of the eighteenth century. Although Scott adopted some stylistic changes over time, much of his work is dramatically consistent in form from one decade to the next. The elaboration of the desk interiors evolved from his earliest examples with complex stepped interiors to later neat and plain arrangements like the one seen here.