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Photo: Courtesy Sotheby's, New York
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Tea table

Object number



Maker Unknown


25 7/8 31 5/8 19 7/8 in. (65.723 80.328 50.483 cm)



Current location



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






Swirling cipher, in chalk, inside a short rail; "THE PRESERVATION SOCIETY / OF NEWPORT COUNTY / takes this Method to acquaint all ladies, / gentlemen &c. that this Table / was exhibited at the Nichols-Wanton-Hunter / House in 1953 and was owned at that time / by Katherine Prentis Murphy," printed and inscribed in ink, on a paper label glued to underside


Mrs. Katherine Prentis Murphy (1881–1966), Westbrook, Connecticut, 1954. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1957; sold to Virginia H. Knauer (1915–2011), Washington, D.C.; consigned by her estate to Sotheby's, New York, January 20–21, 2012, lot 263

Associated names

Katherine Prentis Murphy
Israel Sack, Inc.
Virginia H. Knauer


The two-board top is held in place with nails through the top into the rails below. The nails are covered by the molding which frames the top. The underside of the top bears shadows of three braces which later held its board together. The legs are joined to the rails by mortise and tenon joints reinforced by two vertical chamfers at each corner. One glue block is missing. There are prominent scribe lines on skirts and legs, and no pins are visible. The knee brackets are nailed to the rectangular blocks atop the legs (some with roseheads, some with brads), and glued to the skirt above. The molding at the base of the skirt is glued thereto, and is continuously quarter round with the knee brackets. The quarter round molding which frames the top is cock-beaded at its base and lip. The cabriole legs are square sectioned, with sharp knees, padded slipper feet, and rounded, chamfered ankles. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, January 20, 2012; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640–1820 (Newport, R.I.: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 102, no. 74, Detail, p. 210, Supplement 74, ill.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana: Furniture, Folk Art, Silver, Porcelain, Prints, and Carpets, sale cat. (January 20–21, 2012), 187, lot 263.
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), 213n4.