Secretary and Bookcase
MAKER: One other secretary with the same construction and carved feet descended in an Isle of Wight County, Virginia, family, and is twice signed “Thos. McAlaster/ sculp” and “Tho. McAlaster/ fecit.” That example has the laminated foot block construction seen in both Norfolk and Williamsburg. The MESDA example has vertical quarter-round foot blocking, plus the the inscription, “Thomas McAlaster/fecit.” Very little is known about this particular cabinetmaker; he appears in Norfolk County personal property tax records for only five years from 1787 to 1792.
INSCRIPTION: On bottom front rail, “Thomas McAlaster/fecit”
The star inlay on the secretary feet are similar to work on a piece from Salem, MA, that is dated 1795-1804. (#178 on p.222 of American Furniture, the Federal Period)