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Tilt-top table

Object number



Maker John Goddard, American, 1723–1785


Height: 26 1/2 in. (67.31 cm) Diameter: 33 in. (83.82 cm)



Current location

Wunsch Americana Foundation, Inc.


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (block)




"CL," carved on the underside of one leg


Originally owned by James Atkinson (before 1722–1806), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, Captain John Botkin Atkinson (1776–1847), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his son, James Atkinson (1804–1879), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter, Louisa F. Atkinson (1840–after 1930), Newport, and Jamestown, Rhode Island; sold to George E. Vernon and Company, Newport, Rhode Island, 1930; sold to John Nicholas Brown (1900–1979) and his wife, Providence, Rhode Island, 1936; by descent in the family of John Nicholas Brown; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 20–23, 2005, lot 1202; sold to Bridget and Alfred F. Ritter, Jr., Virginia Beach, Virginia; sold to the Wunsch Americana Foundation, Inc., New York

Associated names

James Atkinson
Captain John Botkin Atkinson
James Atkinson
Descendants of John Nicholas Brown
John Nicholas Brown
George E. Vernon and Company
Louisa F. Atkinson
Mr. Alfred F. Ritter, Jr.
Bridget Ritter


The circular, single-board top has a raised, molded edge. The underside steps down slightly just inside the perimeter. Fixed to it with countersunk screws are two cleats with ogee-shaped square ends and square edges, and quarter-round transitions from deeper to shallower portions. A rectangular block atop a ring-turned, tapering pedestal with a spirally fluted vasiform element is doweled into the cleats, allowing the top to tilt and the table to sit against a wall when not in use. A brass latch secures the top to the block. The circular, unwedged top of the pedestal is visible in the top of the block. A three-armed iron plate is attached with screws to the underside of the cylindrical pedestal base, covering partially the dovetail joints between the slightly shaved sides of the pedestal and the legs. The bottom of the base and the neighboring portions of the legs are slightly scalloped. The tops and bottom of the cabriole legs are rounded; they end in claw and ball feet with prominent knuckles. Examined by P. E. Kane, February 11, 1998; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


The following bill of sale, dated December 9, 1773, descended in the same family as the table: [side one] "James Atkinson to John Goddard/ To a Mahogany Dining Table with Feet 4-4 / To D Fly Tea Table 3" - / To 6 Black Birch Chairs 4"-10 / Newport ye 19th of ye 9th M1774 / Errors Excepted John Goddard"; [side two] "The William Acct C/ By Sundry Shoes of George Tennent Esq. Rec: 4-0-7 1/2/ By D _of William Pryor 1-7- / By D of Jeremiah Phillips 6-6-4 1/2/ Newport ye 22nd of ye 3rd M 1774 / John Goddard"


Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., "The Newport Exhibition," Antiques 64, no. 1 (July 1953): 40, fig. 8.
Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640–1820 (Newport, R.I.: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 107, no. 79, ill.
Patricia E. Kane, "The Palladian Style in Rhode Island Furniture: Fly Tea Tables," American Furniture (1999): 1–3, 9, fig. 1, 2.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 199, 208, 217, fig. 4.7, 5.3.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana including Property of Descendants of John Nicholas Brown, sale cat. (January 20–21, 23, 2005), 316–-21, lot 1202, ill.
Amy Coes, "A Bill of Sale from John Goddard to John Brown and the Furniture It Documents," Antiques 169, no. 5 (May 2006): 133, n. 29.
"David Stockwell, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 66, no. 1 (July 1954).
"Carl and Celia Jacobs advertisement," Antiques 66, no. 4 (October 1954): 273.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 13, 1983), 125.