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    Description

    U.S. House of Representatives: Circa 1857 Desk. The oak desk in this lot was used in Congress from 1857 to 1873. It (and a matching chair) was designed by Thomas U. Walter, the architect of the Capitol. His renovations culminated in the enlarged dome surmounted by a statue of a Native American princess, emblematic of Liberty. Chairs and desks were ordered as part of an 1857 renovation of the House, overseen by Montgomery C. Meigs. There were 241 Congressmen at that time. When 11 states seceded from the Union, the number of members was reduced to 175. Excess furniture was then distributed to other government buildings and sold to the public. The desk was manufactured by Doe & Hazelton of Boston while the chairs were made by Bembe & Kimble located at 20 Broadway in Manhattan. The desk has a Federal shield decorated with stars and stripes on the top gallery facade, extensive carving including a globe in the half round inscribed "America", four stars encased in circular frames, a lattice-work screen and a hidden shelf. It is 35.5" tall, 29" wide and 21" deep. It has a hinged slant lid with writing compartment and original leather writing surface. The gallery facade is loose and needs some dowel replacement. Most of the original varnish finish has worn off, but the desk itself has not been refinished. There is a long vertical age crack on the right front panel. The overall condition is quite good and all original. When the House of Representatives was refurbished in 1873, any remaining desks and chairs were sold off. Examples reside in several museums (Smithsonian Institution, High Museum of Art, Lincoln Memorial University at Harrogate, Chicago History Museum, Ft. Wayne Historical Society).

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2014
    24th Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 741

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