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From: Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), no. 46
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Pembroke table

Object number



Maker John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


27 1/2 19 33 in. (69.85 48.26 83.82 cm) Width open: 39 in. (99.06 cm) Width, closed: 19 in. (48.26 cm)



Current location

Philadelphia Museum of Art


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


Mahogany, mahogany veneer, ligh twood inlays (primary); maple (hinged and stationary rails); chestnut (glue blocks); white pine (corner blocks); yellow poplar (drawer linings, cross braces, and drawer supports)


"I * T 179 (wood loss)," stamped with a chisel, at false drawer front end of frame


"A," inscribed, before initials on false drawer front


Israel Sack, Inc., New York, before 1972; sold to Dr. Irvin Stein (1906–2000), Camden, New Jersey, 1972; consigned by his estate to Christie's, New York, October 5, 2000, lot 124 (unsold); by descent to Dr. Stein's daughters, Katherine Sachs, Marge Schab, and Jane Finerman, Philadelphia, 2000; given to The Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2000

Associated names

Israel Sack, Inc.
Dr. Irvin Stein


The single-board top has bowed ends and a cove-molded and double-beaded edge, and is flanked by single board half-round leaves similarly edged. They are attached to each other by means of four iron hinges, each leaf thrice-screwed, set inward slightly from the legs. The underside of the top is fitted with three transverse battens, let into the inner rails and screwed at their ends into the top. There are four long glue blocks along the joints between the top and the inner rail. A longitudinal medial brace is lapped over and nailed with brads and a rosehead nail into two of these battens, serving as a drawer guide. Two transverse braces are dovetailed into the bottom of the inner rails and lapped over the drawer supports. The bowed skirts comprise one false and one working drawer, similarly faced. The drawer front is solid with a cock-beaded edge and finely cut dovetails with a half-pin above and a half-pin with rabbet below. The drawe-side tops are arched, the drawer-back top flat. The single-board drawer bottom is flat and perpendicular to the front, nailed with brads into the rabbet in the drawer front and into the drawer sides and back above. The inner and outer rails are joined by rosehead nails laid out with scribe lines. The outer rails are veneered near their legs and fitted with quarter spherical finger holes for their trapezoidal leaf supports which swing on round, five-knuckled hinges. The bowed skirt at the false drawer end is comprised of five laminations, its corners reinforced by large vertical chamfered glue blocks. The legs at the false drawer end are joined to the skirt with single mortise and tenon joints, the underside of the rail showing two scribe lines. The legs at the working drawer end are joined to the skirt with double mortise and tenon joints, the underside of the bottom rail showing four scribe lines. The square, tapered legs are flower and line inlaid on their outside edges, down to thin inlaid cuffs. Examined by P.E. Kane, April 24, 2008; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 55, 111, fig. 1.44,1.44a, 3.24.
Michael Moses and Liza Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's Later Tables," Antiques 119, no. 5 (May 1981): 1159, fig. 11.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 178–79, no. 46, ill.
Gifts in Honor of the 125th Anniversary of the Philadelphia Museum of Art: Organized by Alice Beamesderfer, exh. cat. (Philadelphia: Philadelphia Museum of Art, 2002), 28, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (October 5, 2000), 110–112, lot 124.
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), 409n1.