Skip to main content

Dartmouth Home | Search | Index Dartmouth home page

Search this Site

 FaceBook Icon Twitter Icon Instagram Icon TouTube Icon
Hood Museum of Art
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755

Subscribe: RSS

Unknown, American, New England, Enfield, New Hampshire, Shakers

Double Sewing Desk or Work Stand
About 1830-50
Pine with red stain, brass
Gift of Frank C. and Clara G. Churchill; 46.22.16382


The majority of Shaker sewing desks originated in New England Shaker communities and, unlike some other Shaker forms, had no clear precedents in worldly furniture designs. The frequent appearance of work tables made to accommodate more than one seamstress reflects the communal nature of sewing in Shaker communities. This double work table made in Enfield, New Hampshire, was probably used for sewing garments and linens for use within that Shaker community. Unlike their counterparts in Canterbury, New Hampshire, the Enfield Shakers generally did not produce textiles for sale. Leather straps tacked against the interior wall provide storage space for needles or pencils. The arrangement of work spaces on opposite sides of the desk (rather than back and front) is an ingenious variant on other Shaker examples of this type. Construction details suggest that the same craftsman may have made the smallscale sewing table as well.

Last Updated: 5/6/09