While exhibiting the influence of Boston designs, this desk-and-bookcase illustrates the regional preferences of Hartford, Connecticut in the third quarter of the eighteenth century. This desk-and-bookcase closely relates to the Samuel Talcott, Jr. desk- and-bookcase made in Hartford (Thomas P. and Alice K. Kugelman, Connecticut Valley Furniture (Hartford, Connecticut, 2005), fig. 144, pp. 314-318). Much like the Talcott example, it is heavily influenced by high-style Boston cabinetmaking with its blockfront form, scalloped doors, and an elaborately carved top with dentil molding. Subtle accents were added to create a sophisticated Connecticut design including the inlaid rosettes above each column. Found on both the Talcott desk and example offered here, is a similar interior section with engaged quarter colonettes on the outside edges of the case. The feet are attached with quarter-round platforms abutting the returns, a feature seen on other furniture from Hartford County (Kugelman and Kugelman, p. 195, fig. 89).
According to family tradition, this desk-and-bookcase was once owned by Governor Richard Dudley Hubbard (1818-1884), a renowned lawyer, orator, and politician from Hartford. Hubbard graduated from Yale College in 1835. He became the State's attorney for Hartford County in 1846 and established a successful partnership with the Honorable Loren P. Waldo and Alvin P. Hyde. He was an active participate in local government and a prominent member of the Democratic Party, yet remained unflinchingly loyal to the federal government during the Civil War. Elected to congress in 1867 and governor of Connecticut in 1877, he was known as a staunch supporter of women's rights (Frederick Calvin Norton, The Governors of Connecticut (Hartford, Connecticut, 1905), pp. 293-296).