About this artwork
The Shakers, members of a Protestant sect who lived in celibate, agriculturally oriented communal cooperatives, are best known for their simple yet elegant furniture. By the mid-19th century, they gained a notable reputation for excellent craftsmanship, which enabled them to turn their cottage furniture industry into a major enterprise. The use of rectilinear lines, lack of ornamentation, and emphasis on function characterize simple and restrained Shaker furniture. This particular desk was intended to store sewing implements and provide a work surface for sewing endeavors. The replacement of the rear panel indicates that the desk may have been arranged back-to-back with an identical desk, a concept in keeping with the communal living and working environments central to the Shaker belief system.
- Sewing Desk
- New Hampshire
- c. 1860–1870
- Cherry, birch, ash and maple
- 106.7 × 80 × 68.9 cm (42 × 31 1/2 × 27 1/8 in.)
- Restricted gift of Mrs. James M. McMullan and Mrs. James D. Vail III through the Antiquarian Society