Specialized tables with storage compartments were popular additions to elite homes during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. "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 when visiting. Family tradition maintains this rather austere work table belonged to Martha Washington and was given to her great-great-grandniece as a wedding present in 1834. Its early 1800s date of manufacture, however, suggests purchase by the next generation of Washingtons who lived at Mount Vernon.


Oval work table with hinged lid and a single, undivided compartment on four, square, tapered legs reeded on their pilasters and exterior faces down to applied-bead cuffs. Single-board top with squared edges is attached to the frame by one brass butt hinge (replaced). Oval frame with four horizontal laminations is veneered with figured mahogany and has an applied bead along its bottom outside edge. The compartment's interior is lined in a green textile (possibly baize); a single board forming the bottom is nailed into a rabbet on the lower inside edge of the rails. Brass-lined keyhole and lock mechanism set into the front rail.




Mahogany (legs, top, veneer), tulip poplar (front, side, and rear rails, bottom)


Overall: 28 3/4 in. x 22 7/8 in. x 15 1/2 in. (73.03 cm x 58.1 cm x 39.37 cm)

Credit Line

Gift of Mrs. Lucien M. Hanks, Vice Regent for Wisconsin, 1927

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.
Buy Tickets What to Do Calendar Shop Restaurant Support Membership
Estate Hours

9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

iconDirections & Parking
buy tickets online & save