Member's desk and lectern

Object Number: 
1958.18ab
Date: 
1785-1810
Medium: 
Mahogany, mahogany veneer; poplar
Dimensions: 
Desk: 30 x 22 1/8 x 14 1/4 in. ( 76.2 x 56.2 x 36.2 cm ) Part (lectern): 16 x 22 x 20 in. (40.6 x 55.9 x 50.8 cm)
Marks: 
inscribed: on brass plaque affixed to front of lectern base: "M. C. S. to J. S. / May 21, 1820 / Ethel Sparks / 1887." inscribed: on silver(?) plaque affixed to back of desk: "Desk of the First Constitutional Congress / City of New York 1789. / JARED SP
Description: 
Mahogany Federal desk ("a") with carved eagle lectern ("b") said to have been used in Federal Hall; desk with slightly slanting top with three rectangular wells at back, corner blocks with carved oval motif, a single front drawer, and tapering cylindrical legs with fluting; lower portion of front legs with stop-fluting and bulbous feet; lower portion of rear legs with stop-fluting only; lectern with slanted top supported by a carved eagle with outstretched wings atop a stepped rectangular base.
Gallery Label: 
Edward C. Taylor, a previous owner, signed an affidavit in 1964 in which he stated that the desk and lectern had come into his hands through "direct descendants" of Jared Sparks (1789-1866), clergyman, historian, and President of Harvard University from 1849 to 1853. The desk appears to have been cut down from a much larger desk and the lectern may be a modern addition.
Credit Line: 
Purchase, Edward C. Delafield Fund
Provenance: 
Purchased by the Society from Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1958.
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.
Creative: Tronvig Group