Rooms created specifically for dining became more widespread in post-Revolutionary America. They required new, specialized forms of furniture, including the sideboard. This graceful, serpentine-front sideboard is one of two that George Washington purchased from John Aitken in Philadelphia in February 1797 for his dining room, or "New Room," at Mount Vernon. With its clean, straight lines and flat surfaces decorated with delicate inlays, it exemplifies the sophisticated lightness and restrained elegance of the Federal or neoclassical style. When not being used for serving food during meals, it held linens and other dining equipage, and provided display space for knife boxes, ceramic figurines (or "images").

See M-2479 for a similar, non-Washington sideboard also attributed to John Aitken.


Serpentine-front sideboard with one long drawer above a recessed two-door cabinet at center flanked by a single-door cabinet at left and large, undivided drawer at right. Six, square, tapered legs, each with two inlaid oval paterae, stringing on their fronts and dark wood cuffs on all four sides. Drawers and doors veneered with book-matched crotch mahogany and outlined with stringing and banding. Four, stamped brass bail handles and oval backplates. Brass-lined escutcheons in each of the drawers and doors.

Top center drawer front and central cabinet doors solid; left cabinet door with seven horizontal laminations; right drawer with five horizontal laminations. No stringing along bottom front of case.






Mahogany, mahogany veneer, light and dark wood inlays (primary), mahogany (cabinet doors, bottle drawer front and sides), white pine (back, divider between drawer and center section), possibly tulip poplar (center top drawer sides and bottom), unidentified softwood (case bottom)


Overall: 37 5/8 in. x 71 1/8 in. x 26 11/16 in. (95.57 cm x 180.66 cm x 67.79 cm)

1.8 m95.6 cm67.8 cm

* Object size compared to a tennis ball

Credit Line

Gift of George Washington Custis Lee, 1908

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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