Secretary Cabinet

Walnut two part desk with mirrored doors flanked by fluted pilasters capped with gilded leafage capitals in the upper part and a drop front desk with small drawers and pigeon holes, and a lower portion with three drawers on either side and recessed knee hole section.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • Walnut two part desk with mirrored doors flanked by fluted pilasters capped with gilded leafage capitals in the upper part and a drop front desk with small drawers and pigeon holes, and a lower portion with three drawers on either side and recessed knee hole section.

Date:

1732

Artist:

John Kirkhoffer (Irish, active 1730s)
Ireland

About this artwork

18th-century Dublin was a booming city, attracting furniture makers and customers from England and the rest of Europe. Among the former were the Kirkhoffer family, German Protestants who had fled the area of Germany known as the Rhineland-Palatinate to escape religious persecution. The family included John Kirckhoffer, who has been identified as the maker of this secretary desk thanks to modern technology, which revealed his signature inside the base of one of the small drawers, along with facitt / 1732 (made in 1732). It is fairly rare to find craftsmen’s names on their work during this time period.

The Art Institute’s piece is one of a group of five similar secretary bookcases, one of which is in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. The Victoria and Albert’s cabinet is probably most similar to the Art Institute’s; it shares the same bold setback, with the upper portion of the secretary literally moved back in relation to the bottom half and sides.

On View

European Decorative Art, Gallery 234

Artist

John Kirkhoffer

Title

Secretary Cabinet

Origin

Ireland

Date

1732

Medium

Walnut, holly, mirror glass, and brass

Dimensions

Height (overall): 217.2 cm (85 1/2 in.); Upper stage: 113 × 91.4 × 33 cm (44 1/2 × 36 × 13 in.); Lower stage: 104.1 × 125.7 × 55.9 cm (41 × 49 1/2 × 22 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Robert Allerton

Reference Number

1957.200

Extended information about this artwork

Object information is a work in progress and may be updated as new research findings emerge. To help improve this record, please email .

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