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Secrétaire à abattant

A work made of mahogany, mahogany veneer, pine, black marble, ormolu, and brass.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mahogany, mahogany veneer, pine, black marble, ormolu, and brass.




Artist unknown (American, 19th century)

About this artwork

This architecturally inspired secretary was originally owned by David Sears (1787–1871), a prominent merchant and landowner, whose house, designed by Alexander Parris (1780–1852), still stands at 42 Beacon Street, Boston, as the Somerset Club. An 1822 perspective drawing of the home shows a double-columned portico with composite capitals similar to those of the secrétaire, epitomizing the American interpretation of the late French Empire style. The simple form of the exterior highlights the luxuriousness of its materials and also belies a complicated interior of intricate drawers and shelves of various sizes.


On View, Gallery 172


Arts of the Americas


Artist unknown


Secrétaire à abattant


Boston (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1820–1825


Mahogany, mahogany veneer, pine, black marble, ormolu, and brass


145.4 × 13348.4 cm (57 1/4 × 52 3/8 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of the Antiquarian Society through the Lena Turnbull Gilbert Fund

Reference Number


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Extended information about this artwork

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