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Desk

Object Number: 
1837.2
Date: 
ca. 1788
Medium: 
Mahogany; pine
Dimensions: 
Overall: 29 x 72 1/4 x 27 1/2 in. ( 73.7 x 183.5 x 69.8 cm )
Description: 
Mahogany Federal pedestal desk used in Federal Hall; solid mahogany top screwed into rails and medial braces from below, with applied molding to edge of top; two banks of drawers flanking central drawer, each bank consists of three graduated drawers supported on four tapered columnar legs with stop-fluting and brass castors, four carved bosses on stiles above legs; false drawer fronts on opposite side; each drawer has what appear to be original brass bail handles and lock with brass keyhole; illegible chalk inscriptions on underside of top; brass bail handle and post missing.
Gallery Label: 
This desk (and a mate, 1837.1) is among the surviving furnishings from Federal Hall, the home of the first United States Congress located at the corner of Wall and Broad Streets. Federal Hall was remodeled for that purpose in 1788 by the French-born architect and engineer Pierre L'Enfant, who may have influenced the design of the furniture created for the government officials. The original furnishings, used by Congress for less than a year, were still stored in the building when the New-York Historical Society was headquartered there in 1809. Founder John Pintard petitioned the Common Council for use of six semi-circular tables, and they agreed. In 1837, the city donated two of the tables, two pedestal desks, two desks used by members of Congress, and four armchairs to the Historical Society.
Credit Line: 
Gift of the Corporation of the City of New York
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group