Fall front secretary desk
1818 - 1820
This fall front secretary desk is attributed to the French-born and trained cabinetmaker Michel Bouvier (1792-1874) who emigrated to Philadelphia after the collapse of the Empire in 1815. By 1819 he had established himself as a cabinetmaker, and in 1825 he was operating a "cabinet & sofa warehouse" on South Second Street, where he remained for more than thirty years. According to family tradition, Bouvier supplied this desk for Joseph Bonaparte (1768-1844) while superintending the building and furnishing of Bonaparte's home, "Point Breeze" near Bordentown, NJ on the Delaware River. It is believed that the desk later passed to Garret Dorset Wall (1783-1850), a New Jersey lawyer who handled Bonaparte's legal affairs. The desk descended to Wall's daughter, Maria Matilda (b. 1815), the wife of New Jersey Governor Peter Dumont Vroom (1791-1874), and it remained in the Vroom family until presented to the Athenaeum in 1961.
65.0" H x 43.375" W x 21.75" D
Mahogany, cherry, pine, maple; ormolu mounts
Gift of Gertruda Vroom Brooks Lushington
Bonaparte Collection, The Athenaeum of Philadelphia