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American, probably Bourbon County, Kentucky
Sugar desk, about 1810, cherry, poplar, other woods.
Gift of Mrs. Hattie Bishop Speed, by exchange 1994.1

Sugar was a valuable commodity during the first half of the nineteenth century. In central Kentucky and Tennessee sugar chests, sugar desks and other related furnishings were produced to store and protect the costly sweetener. These pieces of furniture were most popular between about 1800 and 1840. The fall front in this piece opens to reveal a sliding horizontal panel covering the sugar storage area below. The work surface would have been useful to the desk’s owner for keeping track of accounts while, ink, papers, sugar tongs and tea could be stored in its drawers. The concave drawers in the desk’s center section are an unusual detail. The work required to shape the curved drawer fronts would have added significantly to the desk’s original cost. This is a fine example of a unique piece of Kentucky furniture.




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