In March 1797, Washington disposed of the desk he had used throughout his presidency and bought this stately secretary-bookcase from Philadelphia cabinetmaker John Aitken for his Study at Mount Vernon. His choice, purchased for the princely sum of $145, would have fit well in a fashionable English household. The Cabinet-Makers' London Book of Prices (1793) illustrated a similar example along with a library bookcase featuring the identical muntin design in its glazed doors. The bookcase stored a few of the nearly 900 volumes in Washington's library, while the desk's tambour or roll-top lid enclosed small drawers and pigeonholes that held loose papers and desk accessories. More

Date

1797


People


Geography


Material/Technique

Mahogany and mahogany veneer, light and dark wood inlays (primary), tulip poplar, yellow pine, oak (secondary)


Dimensions

Overall: 95 1/2 in. x 38 1/8 in. x 28 in. (242.57 cm x 96.84 cm x 71.12 cm)


Credit

Purchased with funds donated by Alice M. Longfellow, Vice Regent for Massachusetts, 1905


Marks

Oval plate stamped "24" attached to the proper right bottom drawer support. Doors incised "L" and "R" on their top edges.


Object Number

W-158


Colors


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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