Tambour desk

BFA Number




Current Owner

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library
More details



Mahogany tambour desk with mahogany veneer. Tambour shutters have foliate swag inlay pattern and are interrupted and flanked by pilasters of satinwood. Blue-green painted interior with arched pigeonholes above two tiers of document drawers. Case with two graduated drawers with stringing and geometric inlay on either side. Scrolled pierced brackets between the case and legs. Tapered legs outlined by arched stringing and husks separated by dots end in spade feet. Original Battersea cast-brass pulls with pendant rings surrounding polychrome enameled sheet-brass medallions illustrating the four seasons, backed with sheet iron.

Object use

Case furniture

Object type



John Seymour & Son, cabinetmaker, about 1795-about 1804; Seymour, John, cabinetmaker, 1738-1818; Seymour, Thomas, cabinetmaker, 1771-1848

Basis of maker

Labeled by the Seymours.

Place of origin

Boston, Massachusetts

Basis of origin

The label lists a Boston address.



Basis of date

Date range provided by Winterthur.




Mahogany; Ash; White pine; Brass; Iron

Attributes & techniques

Veneer; Inlay; Carving; Therm legs; Moldings; Therm feet; Straight-front; Knobs; Escutcheons; Locks; Brackets

Marks, signatures, inscriptions

Printed paper label on bottom of lower drawer: [JOHN SEYMOUR & SON, / CABINET MAKERS, / CREEK SQUARE]


Height 41.63 in. (105.73 cm), Width 37.75 (95.89 cm), Depth 18.5 in. (46.99 cm)

History of ownership

Col. Thomas Foxhall Cutts; Judge George Addison Emery; purchased from Phillip Flayderman by Henry Francis du Pont in January 1930.

Exhibition history

Exhibition: "In Praise of America, 1650-1830," The National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC, February 17-July 6, 1980).


Advertisement: "Philip Flayderman," Antiquarian 14, no. 1 (January 1930): 16.

Article: Donald Fennimore, "Brass Hardware on American Furniture: Part II: Stamped hardware 1750-1850," Antiques 140, no. 1 (July 1991): 87, pl. X.

Article: Charles Messer Stow, "Labels: Parcels of Serious Collecting," Antiquarian 14, no. 2 (February 1930): 90.

Book: Ethel Hall Bjerkoe, The Cabinetmakers of America (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1957).

Book: Charles F. Montgomery, American Furniture: The Federal Period, in the Henry Francis du Pont Winterthur Museum (New York: Viking Press, a Winterthur Book, 1966), 228-229, no. 184, figs. 23, 42, 43, 30.

Exhibition catalog: Wendy A. Cooper, In Praise of America: American Decorative Arts, 1650-1830 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), 25.

Exhibition catalog: Robert D. Mussey, Jr., The Furniture Masterworks of John and Thomas Seymour (Salem: Peabody Essex Museum, 2004), no. 3, 140-41.


Tambour desks

Current owner

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library


Bequest of Henry Francis du Pont

Owner's accession number



Metadata and images digitized from the Decorative Arts Photographic Collection of the Winterthur Library. For reproduction requests or more information, contact DAPC at reference@winterthur.org.

Date digitized


Date modified


All materials are copyrighted by Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library or by participating institutions.

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