This iconic object in the MESDA collection was for many years attributed to the workshop of Peter Scott (ca. 1696-1775) of Williamsburg. Recent research has reassigned the piece to the Fredricksburg area of Virginia, and to the workshop of Robert Walker, a Scottish émigré. The masterful carving of the tea-table’s pie-crust top is the work of an as-yet unknown carver who was employed by Walker’s shop.
Robert Walker, and his brother William (1705-1750), a master builder built and furnished many of the Northern Neck’s grandest houses. Working alongside their journeymen and apprentices were enslaved craftsmen. In 1743 Spence Monroe – father of the future president – apprenticed to Robert Walker to learn the “Trade & Mystery of a Joyner.” Walker also agreed to take Monroe’s slave Muddy as an apprentice as well.