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Pembroke table

Object number



Maker John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


26 3/4 18 1/2 32 1/4 in. (67.95 46.99 81.92 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany, mahogany veneer, lightwood inlays (primary); chestnut (drawer sides, kickbar, horizontal glue blocks); white pine (drawer bottom, drawer supports, two vertical corner blocks, laminations on elliptical end rail); maple (hinged rails, cross braces); yellow poplar (stationary rails)


"Made by / John Townsend, / Newport.," printed, and "1797," inscribed in ink, on paper label glued to bottom interior of drawer


"M," in graphite, on each inside face of stationary rails


C. W. Lyon, Inc., Milbrook, New York, 1969. Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1984. Wunsch Americana Foundation; consigned to Christie's, New York, September 28, 2011, lot 38; sold to a private collection

Associated names

Israel Sack, Inc.
W. A. Foundation
Christie's New York
C. W. Lyon, Inc.


The single-board oblong line-inlaid top has an incurvate, molded edge and is joined to its half round leaves by four pairs of wrought-iron hinges laid out with scribe lines and set quite inward of the legs. Each leaf of the hinges is thrice screwed. The joint between top and leaves is quarter round. The top is secured to its frame by three transverse battens set into grooves in the top of the interior long rail and screwed at each end, and by large horizontal chamfered glue blocks ? two inside the rail above the drawer (one is missing) and two each beside the transverse battens and the interior long rails. A tip bar is half-lapped over and nailed to two of the transverse battens. The interior long rail is fixed to the exterior rail with rosehead nails from inside the frame. Two more transverse battens are dovetailed into the bottoms of the interior long rails and half-lapped over the drawer supports, which are nailed with brads to the interior long rails. The false-drawer short tail, bowed on the outside and inside, consists of five horizontal laminations. At its interior corners are large vertical chamfered glue blocks with slightly chamfered outside top and bottom edges. A rectangular portion of the exterior long rails is veneered. The leaves are supported by trapezoidal blocks which turn by means of circular five-knuckled carved wood hinges, with quarter spherical finger holds carved out of the adjacent rails. Glued to the underside of each leaf is a rectangular shim with chamfered edges. The drawer front has a cock-beaded surround, is bowed inside and outside, and meets its slightly shorter, slightly arched-top sides in dovetail joints having finely cut thin-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The flat single-board drawer bottom, perpendicular to the front, is nailed into the groove in the front and into the drawer sides and back with brads. The square tapering slightly splayed legs are line- and bellflower-inlaid on their outside faces only down to their slender four-sided inlaid cuffs. Examined by P. E. Kane, J. S. Gordon, and J. N. Johnson, September 23, 2011; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


"Charles Woolsey Lyon advertisement," Antiques 96, no. 2 (August 1969): 165.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 125, no. 6 (July 1984): inside front cover.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 63, 176–77, no. 45, fig. 54.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 69, 83, fig. 2.11.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (September 28, 2011), 60–61, lot 38.
Lita Solis-Cohen, "Christie's, New York City, American Furniture, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts," Maine Antique Digest (December 2011): 9-B.
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), 4, 406–9, no. 93, fig. 1, 5.