Traveling Desk (Escritorio)
Decorative Arts and Design
On View: Luce Visible Storage and Study Center, 5th Floor
A number of Spanish American towns became well-known manufacturing centers specializing in escritorios and related desk types. Among the most famous was Villa Alta de San Ildefonso in Oaxaca, Mexico, where this finely crafted traveling desk was created. The desk’s interior is inlaid with representations of saints and their attributes within New World landscapes, suggesting a religious provenance. The piece, designed for personal use, may have furnished a private space within a larger ecclesiastical complex for a high-ranking member of the church.
Varias ciudades de Hispanoamérica se convirtieron en conocidos centros especializados en manufactura de escritorios y objetos relacionados. Entre los más famosos estaban la Villa Alta de San Ildefonso en Oaxaca, México, donde se creó un estilo de escritorios finos portátiles. El interior del escritorio se taraceaba con representaciones de santos y sus atributos en paisajes de Nuevo Mundo, sugiriendo su procedencia religiosa. La pieza, diseñada para el uso personal al interior de un complejo eclesiástico mayor, puede haber amueblado el espacio privado de un miembro del alto rango de la iglesia.
Spanish cedar and walnut, with hard- and softwood inlays, pigments, iron, and velvet
open: 22 3/4 x 37 1/8 x 31 7/8 in. (57.8 x 94.3 x 81 cm)
closed: 20 3/4 x 37 1/8 x 15 in. (52.7 x 94.3 x 38.1 cm) (show scale)
Gift of the family of Josephus Daniels
A portable fall-front writing cabinet (a) secured with iron fittings backed with crimson velvet. Its plain cedar exterior contrasts with the rich decoration inside, executed in both in marquetry and with incised lines. Depth of color produced by rubbing of zulaque into designs. The inlaid Dominican arms on the exterior, placed where drop handles might once have been, suggest a religious provenance, and this is borne out by the iconography inside. Images of apostles with the attributes of their martyrdom decorate its compartments. Saint Bartholomew with a knife and Saint Matthias with an ax stand on the center drawers in replicated landscapes of lush, New World vegetation. On the lower drawers evangelists Saint Luke and Saint Mark sit astride their symbolic animals and, on the fall-front, Saint Andrew with a diagonal cross and Saint James with his pilgrim staff are flanked by unidentified standing figures, one with a scroll and one with a book. Saint Peter with the keys to heaven and Saint James the Less with a fuller's club both with hawk-like tropical birds hovering over their heads, stand on the arched doors to a central arch. Deep inside its architectural compartment is the winged figure of the Archangel Gabriel. He holds a flowering branch, on which has alighted another bird with the host in its beak.
Condition: See reports (Brian Howard & Assoc.) 1991 & 6/16/95
Traveling Desk (Escritorio), 18th century. Spanish cedar and walnut, with hard- and softwood inlays, pigments, iron, and velvet, open: 22 3/4 x 37 1/8 x 31 7/8 in. (57.8 x 94.3 x 81 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Gift of the family of Josephus Daniels, 51.102a. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, CUR.51.102b_detail.jpg)
detail, overall, CUR.51.102b_detail.jpg
. Brooklyn Museum photograph, 2011
"CUR" at the beginning of an image file name means that the image was created by a curatorial staff member. These study images may be digital point-and-shoot photographs, when we don\'t yet have high-quality studio photography, or they may be scans of older negatives, slides, or photographic prints, providing historical documentation of the object.
You may download and use Brooklyn Museum images of this three-dimensional work in accordance with a Creative Commons license
. Fair use, as understood under the United States Copyright Act, may also apply.
Please include caption information from this page and credit the Brooklyn Museum. If you need a high resolution file, please fill out our online application form
For further information about copyright, we recommend resources at the United States Library of Congress
, Cornell University
, Copyright and Cultural Institutions: Guidelines for U.S. Libraries, Archives, and Museums
, and Copyright Watch
For more information about the Museum's rights project, including how rights types are assigned, please see our blog posts on copyright
If you have any information regarding this work and rights to it, please contact email@example.com
Not every record you will find here is complete. More information is available for some works than for others, and some entries have been updated more recently. Records are frequently reviewed and revised, and we welcome
any additional information you might have.