From the first purchase of a distinctive set of Windsor chairs for the comfort of colonial readers to the Louis XVI French fauteuils deemed appropriate furniture for the library staff in 1941, the Decorative Arts Collection has grown through unusual donations. Most of the objects displayed throughout the building reflect the Eighteenth-Century era of the Library's founding.
Claggett Clock, c.1728-1740. William Claggett (1696-1749). Newport, RI.
After more than 150 years in the seafaring family of Captain John Stanton, this tall-case clock was a gift to the Library in 1946 from Bishop Samuel Babcock, a descendant of John Stanton. The clock on poplar basewood has a black Japanned-laquer case with gilt foliage. A special feature is the day-of-the-week slot palced above the numeral VI. The sub-dial in the upper left-hand corner has a hand that indicates the time of high tide, which advances at 47.5 minutes per day.
Silver Teapot, c.1745-1750. Samuel Casey (c.1723-c.1773). South Kingstown & Newport, RI.
This teapot has particulary fine engraving at the shoulder. The earliest monogram on this teapot is that of Sarah Pope (1742-1819), who was married to William Redwood (son of our founder Abraham Redwood) in 1757.
Globes: Celestial and Terrestial, 1799 (Celestial) & 1818 (Terrestial). John Cary (c.1754-1835). London, England.
These globes date from 1799 and was sold by J&W Cary, London. The celestial globe features an engraved chart of stars, planets, and constellations. The terrestial globe displays a map of the world based on the latest navigational discoveries from explorers such as Captain Cook and Captain Vancouver. Both globes are contained in a round Sheraton mahogany stand with legs feture turned cross stretchers that contain a round medial platform for a compass.
Townsend & Goddard Card Table, c.1760. John Townsend (1732-1809). Newport, RI.
This Chippendale mahogany card table was originally owned by Sarah Pope Redwood (daughter-in-law of our founder Abraham Redwood.) Displaying superbly carved knees and feet and firmly attributed to John Townsend, this card table represents the masterful skills of colonial Newport's cabinetmakers. Considered the most skilled practioner of Newport's famous block-and-shell furniture, John Townsend stands as one of early America's premier cabinetmakers.
Windsor Armchair, c. 1764. Newport, RI.
Part of a larger set, purchased in 1764 for library use, this armchair is identical to one portrayed in a 1771 portrait of Rev. Ezra Stiles, librarian of the Redwood Library. The portrait and its production are described by Stiles in his diary and the chair is referred to as a "Green Elbow Chair."