Circular Revolving Table. Thomas Jefferson Foundation, Inc.

Artist/Maker: Unspecified

Created: 1800-1826

Origin/Purchase: Monticello Joiner's Shop

Materials: mahogany

Dimensions: 73.7 × 94 × 75.2 (29 × 37 × 29 5/8 in.)

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by descent to Francis Eppes; by purchase to William Cobbs; by sale to Fred Harris in 1877; by trade to Christian S. Hutter in 1891; by purchase to James Owen Watts, Jr., in 1946; by purchase to Claudine Hutter in 1946; by purchase to the Buckley-Lunati Galleries, Atlanta, Georgia; by purchase to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1976

Accession Number: 1976-34

Historical Notes: Jefferson, who cherished efficiency and mechanical innovation, apparently was fascinated by revolving furniture. He owned not only two revolving tables but also two revolving chairs. Both revolving tables and chairs were unusual in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

This table was made in the Monticello joinery for Jefferson's use at Poplar Forest. It may be the very table that Jefferson referred to in a letter to his Monticello overseer, Edmund Bacon, in 1811: "tell Johnny Hemings to finish off immediately the frame for the round table for this place that it may come by the waggon."[1] Cornelia Randolph, Jefferson's artistically inclined granddaughter, sketched the table and a Windsor chair at Poplar Forest.

Fabricated entirely of native woods, the table has a segmented decorative top. A cove mold beneath the outer edge of the lower top effectively minimizes the height of the two tops. The straight legs, which taper to the bottom, are characteristic of Monticello joinery-made furniture.

- Text from Stein, Worlds, 287


  1. ^ Jefferson to Bacon, December 5, 1811, in PTJ:RS, 4:306-07. Transcription available at Founders Online.