Eighteenth-century households used breakfast tables for a variety of activities, from serving breakfast, tea and other light repasts to sewing, reading, and writing. Their small and compact design made them convenient and easy to store. Family tradition maintains that this breakfast table was presented by George Washington's step- grandson, George Washington Parke Custis, to Rosalie M. Van Zandt on the occasion of her 1837 marriage to James Mortimer Smith.


Oval-top breakfast or pembroke table with inlaid decoration on four, square, tapered legs; one real and one false drawer; three-board top with single light-wood stringing at perimeter and double light-wood stringing on edge; each leaf meets the center board in a rule joint and is secured with three iron butt hinges; overhanging center board glued and screwed to frame; rectangular frame with bowed and laminated end rail, bowed drawer rail, and straight, double-railed sides, the outer side rails are divided into three sections: the left-hand section is glued and nailed to the inner rail and is attached to the center section or fly rail with a five-finger hinge, the right-hand section is also glued and nailed to the inner rail; end rail veneered with figured mahogany, a triangular splice of mahogany veneer is also glued to the bottom corners of the side rails; drawer front edged in single light-wood string inlay, rear end rail inlaid with matching stringing; an alternating band of light and dark inlay, accented with diamonds runs along the skirt of both end rails and the tops of legs to terminate with the spliced mahogany veneer on the side rails; top portion of legs feature a rectangular panel of light-wood veneer outlined in a light and dark double-string inlay, the lower portion of the legs feature a second panel of light-wood veneer with rounded tops and coved ends outlined in light and dark double-string inlay; feet planed for inlaid cuffs and castors (now missing); end rail and drawer front with one oval stamped brass handle at center.





Mahogany (top, legs, veneer), yellow poplar (inner side rails, drawer rail, end rail, drawer runner, drawer sides and back), oak (outer side rails), pine (drawer bottom), light-wood (inlay), ebonized wood (inlay)


Overall (closed): 28 1/8 in. x 20 11/16 in. x 13 3/4 in. (71.44 cm x 52.55 cm x 34.93 cm)
Overall (open): 28 1/8 in. x 49 in. x 13 3/4 in. (71.44 cm x 124.46 cm x 34.93 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1921


Chiseled into the underside of the proper left stationary and fly rail: "III".

Handwritten in graphite on the exterior face of the proper left inner rail: "2".

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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