Member's desk from Federal Hall
Mahogany; tulip poplar, white pine
Overall: 30 x 46 x 14 1/2 in. ( 76.2 x 116.8 x 36.8 cm )
Curved mahogany desk section from Federal Hall; unit part of larger circular or oval seating arrangement; slant-toped writing surface with two rectangular pen and ink bottle wells above two drawers with scratch-beaded fronts and brass bail handle and escutcheon (probably replaced according to accession records), carved oval paterae on ends of inner rail; left side of left drawer opening filled in to accommodate smaller drawer, possibly from another desk; two tapered cylindrical legs with stop-fluting and bulbous feet on inner side of curve, two straight cylindrical legs with stop fluting on outer side of curve; tenons on left side to join desk with other desk segments; according to the accession records, this desk is half the size of an original, and the legs have been cut down.
This Member's desk (and its mate, 1837.4) 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.
Gift of the Corportation of the City of New York, New-York Historical Society
Due to ongoing research, information about this object is subject to change.