Thomas Jefferson Lap Desk

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$4,200

  • Cherry desk available for immediate shipment

  • Wood options include walnut, curly cherry, plain cherry, plain maple, tiger maple

  • Option for inlaid initials, stringing, banding

  • 14"W x 9"D x 3 1/2"H

  • Devonshire, England baize writing surface available in different colours

  • Lock & key

  • Partitions for writing paper, pens, accessories

  • Portable, lightweight

  • Inlaid holly details

  • Hand-forged cast brass hardware from England

  • Finished with multiple coats of polished shellac, waxed and rubbed to a satin patina

"On that desk was done a work greater than any battle,  loftier than any poem, more enduring than any monument."

     -Senator John Warfield Johnston

          Virginia, 1880

 

In 1776 Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence on this portable lap desk of his own design. Featuring a hinged writing board and a locking drawer for papers, pens, and inkwell, the desk was Jefferson's companion as a revolutionary patriot, American diplomat, and president of the United States,

 

    In May of 1776, a tall, red-haired, 33-year-old lawyer made his way to Philadelphia to join the Continental Congress. Known for his revolutionary thinking and persuasive writing, the young Virginian was chosen to draft the pending independence declaration. His name was Thomas Jefferson.
       Jefferson decided that he needed a compact, portable writing desk to use in his rented room, as well as in his travels. By good fortune, his lodgings were at the home of the cabinetmaker, Benjamin Randolph. Jefferson sketched what he wanted and his host agreed to construct the unusual device. His design employed a novel combination of hinged surfaces that in one configuration held a book for reading and in another unfolded into a large and strong writing surface. Inside was a locking drawer for papers, pens, and an inkwell.
       Throughout June of 1776, Thomas Jefferson labored at this desk, storing drafts of the document in the drawer and rewriting it with advice from Benjamin Franklin and John Adams, among others. The famous words proclaimed on July 4th of that year gave birth to our nation and catapulted Jefferson to fame. His little desk accompanied him as president and after, supporting his prodigious writings for the ensuing 50 years. It now resides at the Smithsonian Institute.
       This reproduction is faithful to the original. Cast brass hardware and baize writing surface from the UK. This museum-quality reproduction is built to be used.