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This skillfully framed, mirrored platform is one of seven sections of an oblong plateau that descended in the family of Martha Washington’s granddaughter, Martha Custis Peter. It may have been part of the “2 Sets Platteaux [$]100” listed in the Lumber (Storage) Rooms at Mount Vernon in the inventory taken after George Washington’s death. Placed down the center of the dining table, a plateau provided a reflective foundation for elegant arrangements of statuary, flowers, and candelabra during a formal meal. The carved galleries along the sides of this rare mahogany example imitate those of neoclassical silver and gilt-metal plateau of the late eighteenth century.

Description

Rectangular section of a mahogany framed, mirrored plateau with a carved wooden gallery along the two short sides, two leaf-edge wooden tenons on one long side and two leaf-edge mortises on the other, and two ball feet (a third is missing). The wooden galleries on the two short sides are carved with a rope or cable pattern along their tops and an arch pattern, above a line of beading along their outside faces. Below the carved section of the galleries, the outsides are ornamented with a line of lightwood stringing at top and strip of half-round, light, striped wood (possibly tiger maple) molding along the base. The mitered, veneered frame surrounding the center mirror features a gilded lamb’s tongue molding at the sight edge with a lightwood stringing border. The long side with the leaf-edge tenons also has a wide band of lightwood inlay sandwiched between two narrow bands of dark wood inlay. The underside of the plateau features a central, beveled-edge panel screwed into the frame that removes to allow access to the mirror. Two ball feet are tenoned into the frame, one at the center of one long side and another at the end of the other long side. A mortise at the other end of the long side indicates the original placement of a third.

Date

1785-1810


Geography


Material/Technique

Mahogany (primary and veneer), tiger maple, light and ebonized wood inlay, gesso, gilt, glass


Dimensions

Overall (H x W x D): 3 1/8 in. x 24 1/4 in. x 17 3/8 in. (7.94 cm x 61.6 cm x 44.13 cm)


Credit Line

Purchase, 1956


Object Number

W-2179


Colors (Beta)


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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