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Desk and tools used by miniaturist John Ramage (ca. 1748–1802)

Object Name: Desk
Date: 1777-1794
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Medium: Mahogany with yellow poplar and pine
Dimensions: Overall: 42 3/4 x 27 3/4 x 21 1/2 in. ( 108.6 x 70.5 x 54.6 cm )
Place made: United States, New York
Description: Mahogany slant-top desk with top opening in two parts to reveal a center section fitted for tools; working surface flanked on either side by three tiered drawers above three stacked drawers; below is a central drawer over three smaller drawers in line, all of which are flanked by a deep drawer on one side and a compartment with a door made to look identical to the drawer front on the other side; scalloped apron; square legs and stretchers.
Credit Line: Gift of an anonymous donor
Object Number: 1947.461
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This desk and set of goldsmithing tools belonged to acclaimed miniaturist John Ramage (ca. 1748-1802), who was active in New York City between 1777 and 1794. The tools were used by the artist to create and decorate the delicate cases that frame his elegant portraits. The Historical Society's extensive collection of miniatures, comprising nearly 800 examples, includes thirteen portraits by Ramage.


Purchased by the donors from the Hobby House, Hollander Brothers, 103 West 43rd Street.


Hofer, Margaret K. Stories in Sterling: Four Centuries of Silver in New York. London: New-York Historical Society in association with D Giles Limited, 2011.


"Tokens of Affection: The Portrait Miniature in America," Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY, October 16, 1990–February 22, 1991.

"Gaelic Gotham: The Irish in New York," Museum of the City of New York, 1996–1997.

"Group Dynamics: Family Portraits and Scenes of Everyday Life at the New-York Historical Society," New-York Historical Society, May 5–September 15, 2006.