image of object
Liza and Michael Moses Photographic Archive, Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, Conn.
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Card table

Object number



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


Closed: 27 1/2 34 1/2 17 in. (69.85 87.63 43.18 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (hinged and stationary rails)






By descent in the Lyman family, Boston and Newport, Rhode Island, before 1973; Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1973; private collection, by 1993

Associated names

Israel Sack, Inc.
Lyman family


The single-board lower leaf has a rounded edge, square outset corners, and an outset portion at its front edge. It is joined to its conformingly shaped top leaf by two pairs of brass hinges set into the outside edges of each leaf?s rear corners. The top is secured to its conformingly shaped, flat-arch-skirted frame by a screw pocket in the front skirt and by large chamfered glue blocks ? two long ones each at the front and rear rails, and one short one at the rear rail ? and by a rectangular transverse batten set into the rear and front rails, fixed with a screw and a rosehead nail to the underside of the lower leaf. In each front corner of the frame is a rectangular vertical glue block at the joint between the front rail and the top of the front leg. The batten is accompanied by two glueblocks ? two extant (one with later nails), and two missing. There are shadows of glue blocks at the joint between the upper leaf and the proper right side rail. The front and side rails are tenoned without wood pins into the blocks atop the front legs. The side rails meet the ends of the interior rear rail in dovetail joints, having finely cut, slightly thick-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The interior rear rail is fixed to the short, thicker stationary exterior rear rail with four screws ? two small ones above two larger ones ? inside the frame. The swinging portions of the exterior rear rail move by means of circular five-knuckled carved wood hinges and are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the blocks atop the rear legs, their tops rabbeted to fit over the corners of the frame. The legs have square-sectioned, angular knees and slightly rounded ankles. The front knees are carved with stylized acanthus decoration extending onto their glued-on knee brackets. The tendons, claws and undercut talons are deeply carved, clasping elongated ball feet. The rear legs are unadorned, have knee brackets at their front faces only and shod pad feet with incised heels. Examined by P. E. Kane, September 17, 2015; 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


Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 151, fig. 3.7, 3.73–3.73a.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 104, no. 4 (October 1973): inside front cover, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 86, no. 5, ill.
Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 281, ill.
Liza Moses and Michael Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's and John Goddard's Queen Anne and Chippendale Tables," Antiques 121, no. 5 (May 1982): 1135, fig. 14.
American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–89), vol. 4, pp. 864, 1026–27, no. P3855; vol 6, p. 11, no. P3855, ill.