American Decorative Arts
Maker, attributed to: Isaac Fitch, American, 1734–1791

Desk and Bookcase

ca. 1769

Mahogany; eastern white pine; lowest backboard, chestnut; drawer fronts on desk interior, Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata); bookcase: mahogany; top, bottom, red oak; backboards, shelves, added top, American black cherry

other: 78 × 40 1/2 in. (198.1 × 102.9 cm)
other (desk): 41 3/4 in. (106.1 cm)
other (desk case): 37 5/8 × 19 15/16 in. (95.6 × 50.6 cm)
other (bookcase): 36 7/16 × 10 3/8 in. (92.6 × 26.3 cm)
other (closed): 21 3/4 in. (55.2 cm)
Gift of Miss Maria Trumbull Dana
Made in Lebanon, Connecticut
18th century

According to tradition, the desk was owned originally by Governor Jonathan Trumbull Jr. (1740-1809). It is thought that it descended to his wife, Eunice Backus Trumbull (1749-1826), and to have been brought by her to New Haven in 1814 when she came to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Harriet (1783-1850) and Benjamin (1779-1864) Silliman. The desk was inherited by Harriet Silliman in 1826 and then passed on to her daughter Faith Wadsworth Silliman Hubbard (1812-1887), wife of Oliver Payson Hubbard (1809-1900). The desk eventually descended, in 1923 or 1924, to Mrs. Hubbard's niece, Maria Trumbull Dana (1867-1962), who gave it to the Art Gallery in 1955. Gift in 1955 to Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.


Gerald W. R. Ward, American Case Furniture in the Mabel Brady Garvan and Other Collections at Yale University (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 1988), 348–50, no. 180, ill.

William Lamson Warren, “Isaac Fitch Revisited (as Cabinetmaker),” Connecticut Antiquarian 1 (June 1979): fig. 2a, 2b.

William Lamson Warren, Isaac Fitch, Lebanon, Connecticut: Master Joiner, 1734–1791, 2nd. ed. (Hartford, Conn.: Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, 1999).

Connecticut Furniture: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, exh. cat. (Hartford, Conn.: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1967).

Edgar Den. Mayhew and Minor Myers Jr., New London County Furniture, 1640–1840, exh. cat. (New London, Conn.: Lyman Allyn Art Museum, 1974), no. 60.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.