18th century|1700-1820
41.5 in HIGH x 38 in WIDE x 19.5 in DEEP
(105.41 cm HIGH x 96.52 cm WIDE x 49.53 cm DEEP)
Gift of Mrs. Evelyn Kant Whitman

Teak wood and camphor wood "shipmaster's" desk. Late 18th early 19th century. So-called due to captains ordering such desks in the Far East. Exceptional quality, finish, and hardware. The upper drawer, when drawn forward, exposes a compartmented desk with drawers and pigeon-holes. Below are two small drawers over two full width drawers, all with recessed brass pulls. The provenance was recorded by the donor from Harry Downie, the curator of Carmel Mission. His interpretation is that three desks were sent over from China in the late 18th century. One went to Mission San Juan Bautista, one to Carmel Mission, and one for the use of the Spanish and Mexican governors in Monterey. This third desk, the donated was in use until Governor Manuel Micheltorena was deposed in 1845. Although there appears to be a gap in time, the desk passed to the Don Alberto Soler family, down to their daughter Elena, who married Achiles Chaine. Their daughter married Harvey Mundel. A Mrs. Mundell sold the family heirloom to Julia Ortega, an antique dealer in Monterey. Mrs. Whitman bought the desk on April 22, 1961 for $390. In 1962, Mrs. Whitman loaned the desk to the Custom House Museum. There it remained until Mrs. Whitman recalled the loan (1979?) and returned it to Ross in northern California. From there she made the donation to Oakland Museum of California. PC Klieger

Used: Governor Manuel Micheltorena | Governors California | Spanish | Mexican

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