A June 12, 1754 invoice from Williamsburg cabinetmaker Peter Scott to Daniel Parke Custis (1711-1757), Martha Washington's first husband, records Scott's manufacture of "2 Mahogany Dressing tables…£10." Martha brought both tables to Mount Vernon after marrying George Washington in January 1759. This one, which stands in the couple's bedchamber today, is the only known documented piece of furniture by Scott. Bureau dressing tables originated in England in the early 18th century, and were used for dressing, writing and storage. Fashionable and functional, they remained quite popular there and throughout the American colonies for decades.


Bureau dressing table with overhanging, single-board, ogee-molded top above one long, thumbmolded drawer over a recessed cabinet with solid door flanked by three, graduated, thumbmolded drawers on each side. Quarter-round base molding. Four, straight-bracket feet with ogee returns. Brass, scrolled-end H hinges and oval escutcheon on cabinet door (original). Shaped escutcheons and backplates with bail handles (replacements). Full dustboards are the same thickness as the drawer blades. Three horizontal backboards, nailed into rabbets at the top and sides and flushnailed at bottom.

Top slides onto a half-dovetail cut into the top edge of the sides. The legs are reinforced with three-part glue blocks on the front and a single vertical block and a horizontal block on the sides; the back legs are glued to the base of the molding.


c. 1754




Mahogany (primary), yellow pine (case back, dustboards, drawerbacks), white oak (most drawer sides and bottoms)


Overall (H x W x D): 32 1/4 in. x 35 3/4 in. x 19 3/4 in. (81.92 cm x 90.81 cm x 50.17 cm)

Credit Line

Purchase, 1939

Object Number


Colors (Beta)

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