image of object
From: Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend Newport Cabinetmaker (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 84, no. 3
Click the image to enlarge

Card table

Object number



Maker John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


Closed: 27 1/2 × 34 1/2 × 17 1/2 in. (69.85 × 87.63 × 44.45 cm)



Current location



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


Mahogany (primary); maple (hinged and stationary rails); yellow poplar (all other secondary wood)


"John" and "M," in graphite, on rear of hinged rail


"Haldem [?]," in chalk, on underside of top


Jerathmael Bowers (died 1799), Somerset, Massachusetts; by descent to his wife Mary Sherburne Bowers (1735–1799), Somerset, Massachusetts; by descent to their daughter Mrs. John Brayton (née Sarah Bowers, 1763–1843) Somerset; by descent to her son Israel Brayton (1792–1866), Somerset; by descent to his daughter Sarah Submit Brayton (1834–1915), Somerset and Fall River, Massachusetts; by descent to her niece Sarah Chaloner Brayton (ca. 1875–1952), Fall River; by descent to her nephew Hugh Morton (born 1906), Fall River; sold to Harry Arons (1891–1967), Ansonia and later Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1966; sold to Joseph K. Ott, Providence, Rhode Island, 1966; by descent to his wife Anne Northrup Ott (1929–2015), Providence; consigned to Christie's, New York, January 20, 2012, lot 145

Associated names

Jerathmael Bowers
Mary Sherburne Bowers
Harry Arons
Joseph K. Ott
John Brayton
Sarah Bowers
Israel Brayton
Sarah Submit Brayton
Sarah Chaloner Brayton
Hugh Morton
Anne Northrop Ott


The single-board hinged and single-board stationary tops have rounded edges, convex-blocked rear and front corners and a convex-blocked front central section. They are connected by brass hinges screwed into the rear corners of the hinged and stationary tops. There are two leaf-edge tenons. The top is affixed to the frame by means of screws in the front and side rails, large longitudinal rectangular and trapezoidal glue blocks (some of which are also screwed) and a medial brace which is let into the front rail and contains two screws. The stationary rail is attached to the hinged rail with four screws and joins the side rails at a rabbeted four-dovetail joint, with half-pin above and a half-pin void below, into which fits the knee bracket of the swing leg. Each rear leg swings by means of a five-toothed round hinge. The top of each swing leg is attached to its rail by a mortise and tenon joint, exhibiting two pins, and fits into the rabbet at the stationary rail. The front legs are attached to the frame with blocks that are screwed and glued. Knee brackets are nailed to the legs with brads. The rear legs are square in section, having angular knees and raised pad feet. The front legs have knee brackets and knees carved with stylized foliage and stylized shells, vigorously carved ankles and tendons, and undercut talons grasping elongated ball feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, January 14, 2012; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Some Rhode Island card tables on cabriole legs with claw-and-ball front feet and pad rear feet have blocked corners, as well as blocking at the center of the front skirt. See the related examples below.

See also


Liza Moses and Michael Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's and John Goddard's Queen Anne and Chippendale Tables," Antiques 121, no. 5 (May 1982): 1134, fig. 12.
Joseph K. Ott, "John Townsend: A Chair and Two Tables," Antiques 94, no. 3 (September 1968): 390, fig. 2–2a.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 153, fig. 3.75–3.75a.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 84, no. 3, ill.
Joseph K. Ott, "Some Rhode Island Furniture," Antiques 107, no. 5 (May 1975): 946, pl. 3.
Lori Zabar, "Picturing John Townsend's Clients," Antiques and Fine Art 6, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 142, fig. 2.
Brock Jobe, Gary R. Sullivan, and Jack O'Brien, Harbor and Home: Furniture of Southeastern Massachusetts, 1710–1850 (Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 2009), 124n9.
Christie's, New York, The Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Joseph K. Ott, sale cat. (January 20, 2012), 42–47, lot 145, ill.
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), 58n19.