The Old Senate Chamber

Senate Desk

Maker: Attributed to the shop of John Shaw (1745-1829), c. 1797
Medium: mahogany, mahogany veneers, and dark and light wood linay with tulip poplar
MSA SC 1545-0701
Senate Desk


In December 1796, the Maryland Senate commissioned cabinetmaker John Shaw to provide “twenty-four handsome commodious chairs to be made for the accommodation of the senate, amongst which shall be a presidential chair.”

The following year, Shaw delivered the 24 upholstered armchairs, as well as a desk for the president, and 10 additional senator’s desks. While this furniture dates to 1797, recent research suggests that the desks may have been very similar in design to the earliest furnishings used by the Senate after it occupied this room in 1779.

The 1797 furniture remained in use in the Old Senate Chamber until sometime between 1837-1845.