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Desk and Bookcase

Johannes Krause Shop
Place Made:
Salem North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut and poplar & yellow pine
HOA: 99″; WOA: 50 3/4″; DOA: 24 3/4″
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: This example has several characteristics that are common on desks and bookcases from the shop: the arched bookcase has two fielded panel doors and sits on a fallfront desk above 5 drawers. Inside the arch of the bookcase is one shelf divided into three sections. The lower portion of bookcase has four graduated shelves over two small drawers with brass pulls. The back of bookcase has five horizontal boards. The interior of fall front desk is divided by shaped blades into three sections; the right and left sections are each composed of four stepped drawers with replaced brass knobs. The center section is composed of six small drawers (in two stacks of 3; with replaced brass knobs) over a shaped ledger shelf. The case below the fall front desk has two lopers for supporting the fall front desk surface (with replaced brass knobs). Below the writing surface are two small drawers over three larger graduated drawers. Although the brass bail drawer pulls and keyhole liners appear to be replaces, they are close to the original locations. The right and left front edges of top and sides of desk case have narrow ovolo molding. A coved base molding sits just above substantial shaped feet that are typical of Krause’s shop. The back of the desk has two warped boards with old adhesive residue. Although they are not finished, the back feet are shaped as in front.

Primary wood is walnut with poplar and yellow pine used as secondary woods. Bookcase door (right) has replaced (?) cut down brass escutcheon.

Johannes Krause (1742-1807) arrived in Salem in 1774 and became master of the Single Brothers’ joinery in 1776, serving in that capacity until he was asked to leave the community for bad behavior in 1796.
Purchased by the donor’s grandmother at an antique store; consulted with Frank Horton who (according to tradition) considered this desk and bookcase to be one of the finest Moravian Desks he had seen.

An early price list (ca. 1790?) lists the price of a “Bookcase Arched” as 4 pounds 18 shillings (wages 1 pound 10 shillings) and a “Bookcase Plain” as 4 pounds [illegible] shillings (wages 1 pound 4 shillings). The price of a “Desk–polished” is listed as 10 pounds 16 shillings ( wages 4 pounds 8 shillings) and the price of a “Desk–plain” is 10 pounds (wages 4 pounds). Price list is acc. # 4421.

Credit Line:
Gift of Eaddo Hayes Kiernan in memory of Rowena Eaddy Williams and Eaddy Williams Hayes.