National Gallery of Art - THE COLLECTION
image of Sewing Table Sewing Table
Rendered by Rolland Livingstone (artist), 1941
watercolor, colored pencil, and graphite on paperboard
overall: 42.4 x 31.2 cm (16 11/16 x 12 5/16 in.) Original IAD Object: none given
Index of American Design
1943.8.5806
Not on View
From the Tour: Furniture from the Index of American Design
Object 21 of 26

During the Federal period, from about 1780 to 1820, work tables became popular, and many new types were developed. Sheraton's Drawing Book offered numerous elaborate patterns for "Ladies' Work-Tables," or sewing tables, of the kind shown here. Customarily, these tables were made with two drawers; the top drawer held supplies, and the lower drawer held a suspended pouch for work in progress. As in Hepplewhite furniture, much of the elegance of this piece comes from the rich contrast of figured birch veneers, mahogany banding, and checkered stringing. Notice that unlike Hepplewhite furniture, the slim legs of this table are turned. Slender turned legs, often finely fluted or reeded, are a consistent feature of Sheraton design, as are tabletops such as this one, in which the regular square or rectangular shape is enlivened by diagonal or canted corners.

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