Monday, June 21, 2010

Mobile Alabama plantation desk I bought part two

1820's Mobile, AL made Federal plantation desk

 I have place the Mobile AL plantation desk in a corner of my parlor. Across from another plantation desk made in Baltimore also from the 1820's. I have not seen the back of the desk until I moved it and was happy to find straight saw marks on the one piece yellow pine back board. All of the wood was hand hewn and hand sawed with a straight saw backing up my 1820's date for the desk as furniture and almost anything made of wood was cut mostly by circular saws after 1830 in America. Above the desk is a Old Paris porcelain Pompadour pink caribelle with 18th century scene painted on front. Pair of Old Paris porcelain vases with Meissen flowers on both sides. Mid 19th century portrait above of a woman in it's original Rococo Revival frame.

Mid 19th century Old Paris porcelain and portrait

Early 1830's Rococo Revival mahogany chair attributed to New York cabinetmaker Charles Baudouine covered in French Louis Philippe style Lyon silk

 The diminutive size of this plantation desk would suggest that it was made for one of the small farm/plantation homes dotted around the city of Mobile. Such as the O'Donnell farm, a raised Federal center hall house. Many of these country homes provided food for the local market in Mobile. they were sometimes built on land from old Spanish land grants. Few of theses home survive in Mobile today. I remember seeing the Old abandoned O'Donnell farm as a child. It was not far from the house where I live now but sadly the home was burned in the early 1990's. Although my home is a turn-of- the century bungalow, the scale and size of the rooms in my house are about the same in some of the antebellum farms that surrounded Old Mobile.

Miller/O'Donnell farm house Mobile, AL 1835

  Family history says this desk was used on Mobile Al steamboats during the antebellum period and after the civil war. And also use by captions in this family in the early 20th century up until fairly recently. The size would be perfect for the small offices on antebellum steamboats.

The slant writing surface has it's original age old sage green felt that has split with the 160 plus years expansion & contraction of the wood under the felt in the damp & humid weather of the Gulf Coast . On display on the surface. 1850's Old Paris porcelain inkwell of a huntsman resting with his hound by his side. The pen would had rested on the deer antlers on the front. Below this is a $100 blank note from 1852 from James Robb & Camp bankers of New Orleans, LA. Singed by James Robb one of the richest men in New Orleans at the time and connaisseur of European Old Master paintings. Under the $100. bank note a $5 dollar bank note from the Canal Bank New Orleans mid 19th century. In the middle 19th century French documents from the first half of the 19th century, to the side Alabama Confederate twenty-five and fifty cents with portrait of my ancestors on them. Both date from 1863. Above the money a Empire period Old Paris porcelain coffee cup and saucer painted in burgundy and etched gold gilt acorn and oak leaf motif with griffin handle circa 1810. Above the cup is a exquisite rare German porcelain biedermeier period gentleman pipe made of porcelain, silver, ebony, bone, tortoise shell & woven human hair. Beautifully hand painted with a 1830's period biedermeier scene of a well dressed woman holding a Love letter to her heart visible in the background is a draped dressing table with mirror and open window to the other side. She has just receive the letter and flowers on the dressing table.The one of a kind museum quality pipe could have been made for the gentleman that was courting this lady. Her brown hair was woven and used in the pipe. Over the documents a French oval miniature plaster-of-paris head of Christ under domed crystal in a brass frame circa 1850.

Open desk


Alabama Confederate money with ancestors portrait on them 1863. German bidermeier pipe circa 1830 and Empire Old Paris porcelain cup & saucer 1810.

1850's Old Paris porcelain inkwell. New Orleans bank notes and French documents

  1850's hand colored Lithograph of a boy in dress by Lilly Martin Spencer from a mobile, Al estate looks over my Old Paris porcelain.

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