Desk and Bookcase Maker, attributed to: Isaac Fitch (American, 1734–1791)


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)
other (open): 33 3/4 in. (85.7 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Miss Maria Trumbull Dana

Accession Number



18th century


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 records is ongoing.



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.

  • William Lamson Warren, Isaac Fitch, Lebanon, Connecticut: Master Joiner, 1734–1791, 2nd. ed. (Hartford, Conn.: Antiquarian and Landmarks Society, 1999).
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Connecticut Furniture: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries, exh. cat. (Hartford, Conn.: Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 1967).

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