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Slant-front desk with four graduated tiers of drawers (one frieze drawer over two short over two long) with thumbnail molded edges, top drawer flanked by lopers, and ovolo-cove-ovolo base molding on ogee bracket feet with cusped-ogee knee brackets. Desk interior composed of a recessed center section with a central, veneered, astragal-paneled prospect door flanked by two document drawers with applied capitals and bases. On either side of the prospect section are four pigeon holes, the central two with a divider between them with a large bead above the drawers and straight along them, extending to the writing surface and the others with a divider shaped with a double-ogee on its front edge, over two banks of two drawers separated by the central divider. Behind the prospect door is a set of two pigeon holes, separated by a double-ogee shaped divider, over a bank of two drawers. The fallboard is attached with hinges and has an oval keyhole cover at the front top center and a lock on the inside top center. Each of the interior drawers of the desk and the lopers has a plain, circular brass pull. Each case drawer has two brass bail handles with circular back plates and stamped brass oval keyhole escutcheons. The top drawer of the case has no lock.

Case Construction:
The case’s top and bottom are dovetailed to the sides. The fallboard is constructed from a single horizontal-grain board through-tenoned into mitered battens on each side and single-pegged. The writing surface consists of a side-to-side grain front rail tenoned into the sides with three back-to-front grain boards set in behind it, those on the ends being tenoned into the sides. The prospect section, is built as a self-contained box and slid into place. All of the partitions and dividers of the writing interior are inserted into dadoes. In the lower section of the case, the drawer blades consist of a walnut front rail tenoned into the sides with a dustboard, slightly thinner than the blade, set behind it in dadoes on the side. The undersides of the blades are notched at center to receive locks. The upper side edges of the dustboards are planed down. Four wooden pegs are present along the front edges of the sides, but their purpose is unclear. The back is constructed from two, vertical boards lap-joined at center. The base molding is nailed to the case bottom. The bracket feet are glued to the underside of the case and have a three-part support consisting of two flankers (one is missing from each of the back feet and from the proper right front foot) and a single, vertical glue block. Triangular rear elements form the back of the back feet.

Drawer Construction:
The majority of the drawers exhibit dovetailed construction. The case drawers have bottoms with side-to-side grain orientation, feathered or beveled front and sides set into dadoes with three wedge-shaped glue blocks along each sides, and flush-nailed back edges with hand-headed nails. The drawers of the writing interior have bottoms that are simply inset between the front, back, and sides. The document drawers exhibit nailed construction throughout.




Walnut (primary), tulip poplar (sides and bottom of case drawers, dustboards, and back and bottom of document drawers), oak (sides of document drawers and drawer bottoms on interior drawers), yellow pine (drawer sides and backs of interior drawers), brass


Overall (H x W x D): 41 3/4 in. x 42 1/8 in. x 22 7/8 in. (106.05 cm x 107 cm x 58.1 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. J. Scott Laughton, Regent and Vice Regent for Pennsylvania


The numbers 1-4 are written in red chalk on the interior sides of the case within the prospect door, starting at the upper proper left side and moving counter-clockwise. “3” and “4” are also written on the base on this case, beneath the lower drawer.

Written in red chalk on the back of the upper drawer of the first bank of drawers to the left of the prospect door: “1”.

Object Number


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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