Specialized tables with storage compartments were popular additions to elite homes during the last decade of the eighteenth century. "Work," a synonym for women's plain or fancy needlework, could be safely stored in the hinged compartment of the table while not in use or easily retrieved for polite employment during an after-dinner conversation. Martha Washington learned sewing skills at a young age and likely taught these to her daughter and granddaughters as a complement to their more formal training. Patsy, Eliza, and Nelly Custis, may have used work tables such as this one to fashionably conceal their embroidery projects. More





Mahogany (primary), tulip poplar (secondary)


Overall: 29 13/16 in. x 21 3/8 in. x 14 9/16 in. (75.74 cm x 54.31 cm x 36.98 cm)
Other (height of apron): 4 in. (10.16 cm)


Gift of Mrs. Charles B. Ball, Jr., Vice Regent for Virginia, 1875

Object Number



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