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Photo: Courtesy Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts, 39.110
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Pembroke table

Object number



Maker, attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


Height: 28 1/8 33 1/2 in. (71.44 85.09 cm) Width with leaves open: 36 3/4 in. (93.35 cm)



Current location

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston


Made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany (primary); chestnut (drawer bottom, drawer supports, and glue blocks); yellow poplar (drawer sides and back, and cross braces); and maple (hinged and stationary rails); white pine (kick bar and glue blocks at front rail [probably replaced])




Illegible inscription [script], in chalk, on outside surface of proper-right drawer side; illegible letter, in chalk, on inside surface of drawer front; “X,” inscribed several times, on underside of stretchers; "W," incised, on underside of lower transverse brace closest to drawer opening


Martha Codman Karolik (1858–1948) and Maxim Karolik (1893–1963), Boston, and Newport, Rhode Island, before 1939; given to the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Massachusetts, 1939

Associated names

Maxim Karolik
Martha Codman Karolik


The rectangular top has a square edge and is joined to its rectangular square-edged leaves by four sets of iron hinges, set inward from the legs, each leaf thrice-screwed. The joint between top and leaves is quarter round. The top is secured to the frame by chamfered horizontal glue blocks at the inner rails and false drawer rail, by rectangular horizontal glue blocks at the drawer rail, by round-headed screws at the ends of two transverse cleats which are set into grooves in the inner rails, and by a single screw in the top rail above the drawer. A third transverse cleat, not screwed into the underside of the top, is also set into grooves in the inner rails, and has nailed and half-lapped to its underside, a cleat, which prevents the drawer from tipping, which is also half-lapped to the rail above the drawer. The inner and outer rails are joined by rosehead nails, and the inner rails are joined to each other by two transverse battens, dovetailed thereto. Each corner of the frame contains a single rectangular vertical glue block. The single drawer rests on two runners, with chamfered ends and small triangular drawer stops, nailed with brads to the inner rails. The drawer, set in a cockbeaded surround, has a plain front, the inside of which bears signs of alternate hardware. It is attached to its sides with dovetail joints, having finely cut pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The drawer sides have flat tops just shy of their front. The single-drower drawer bottom, perpendicular to its front, is nailed with brads into the groove in the bottom of the drawer front and into the drawer sides and back. The outer rails, connected to the legs with mortise and tenon joints exhibiting two pins each, have quarter-spherical finger pull cutouts for trapezoidal leaf supports swinging by means of five-knuckled carved wood hinges which change in section from square above to round below. Each end rail skirt has a fillet molding above a frieze of incised geometric diapering and open fret work brackets which are tenoned to the rails and legs. The square legs are chamfered on their inner corners, stop-fluted on their outer faces and joined by X-form open work stretchers half-lapped together, their joint reinforced by two wrought-iron straps screwed to the underside. Attached by countersunk screws to the bottom of the stretcher is a gadroon molding. Screwed into the underside of each leg is a brass and wrought iron caster assembly. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, November 14, 2012; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Edwin J Hipkiss, Eighteenth-Century American Arts: The M. and M. Karolik Collection (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1950), 124–125, no. 66, ill.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 51, fig. 1.39.
Helen Comstock, American Furniture: Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Century Styles (New York: Viking Press, 1962), 175, fig. 361.
Patricia E. Kane et al., Art and Industry in Early America: Rhode Island Furniture, 1650–1830, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2016), 379n12.