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From: Luke Beckerdite, "The Early Furniture of Christopher and Job Townsend," American Furniture 2000: 25
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Bureau table

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to Job Townsend, Sr., 1699–1765
Maker, formerly attributed to Christopher Townsend, 1701–1787
Maker Unknown


34 1/4 37 1/2 21 in. (86.995 95.25 53.34 cm)



Current location

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia


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


Mahogany (primary); white pine (secondary)




"III," incised, outside face of small drawer back; diagonal lines, incised, inside faces of small drawer sides and back; "Jonathan Ja [or o?]m," in graphite, outside face of small drawer back


C. S. Shumway, New Rochelle, New York; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York; sold to Wallace Nutting, Framingham, Massachusetts; consigned by his estate to Parke-Bernet Galleries, New York, October 4, 1941, lot 97. June Hennage (1927–2020) and Joseph Howard Hennage (1921–2010), Chevy Chase, Maryland, and later Williamsburg, Virginia; by bequest to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, Virginia

Associated names

C. S. Shumway
Israel Sack
Wallace Nutting
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc.
Joseph Howard Hennage
June Elizabeth Stedman Hennage


The rectangular oblong top is molded at its front and side edges, where it is supported by a single piece ogee molding. The top and molding do not overhang at the back. The top is secured directly to the case sides with dovetail keys on the top of the case sides. There is no sub-top. The case back consists of two horizontal half-lapped boards fixed to rabbets in the case top and sides, and to interior partitions with rosehead nails. Within the case are full-depth strips below the top, nailed to the case with brads, which prevent the upper drawer from tipping forward when opened. The small drawers have full-depth supports nailed with brads to the case sides. The upper drawer has transverse supports butt-jointed to a full-width drawer support across the back. The top and bottom rails join the case sides in blind joints. The intervening drawer dividers, which are entirely of mahogany with integral cockbeading, join the case sides and partitions in half-blind dovetail joints. The divider below the frieze drawer is cockbeaded across the bottom of its center portion. The shell-carved, convex and concave-blocked frieze-drawer front meets its drawer sides in dovetail joints, having large, finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The tops of the drawer sides are nearly flush with the drawer-front top. The drawer-back top is chamfered at the back. The frieze-drawer bottom consists of three boards, parallel to the front, with applied runners. The drawer is fitted with later upright, transverse partitions. The small drawers in the two banks below have convex-blocked fronts, fixed to their sides with dovetail joints, having thicker-necked pins of varying configurations, with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The drawer side tops are chamfered, and shy of the drawer-front tops. The drawer bottoms are single-board, perpendicular to the fronts, and have no runners. In the central, recessed section are a shallow, concave-blocked small drawer with an incised and scallop-skirted front, and a recessed, arched, hinged, concave-blocked and shell-carved door, apparently carved from the solid. Behind the door is a pair of supports for a shelf, now missing. The multi-board case bottom is dovetailed to the case sides and nailed with brads to the bottom rail. At the front and sides are solid ogee bracket feet, with small, rectilinear glue blocks?one full height in each corner, flanked by two horizontals. The bracket feet are fixed with screws to the bottom rail and base molding above. The fronts are convex-blocked and carved with prominent scrolls, portions of which are missing. Between the bracket feet are separate quarter-round moldings, flush with the upper portions of the brackets, nailed with brads to the bottom rail and molding above. The outside faces of the rear feet are constructed similarly to those in front. The backs are simple curved brackets set into vertical grooves in the outside faces. Examined by P.E. Kane, September 11, 2003; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd


This bureau table is closely related to RIF1222.

See also


Luke Beckerdite, "The Early Furniture of Christopher and Job Townsend," American Furniture (2000): 25, fig. 41.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 32, fig. 1.15.
Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana from the Collection of Diane and Norman Bernstein, The Lindens, Washington, D.C., sale cat. (January 22, 2006), 174, ill.
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, Early American Furniture, Property of the Estate of the Late Wallace Nutting, sale cat. (October 4, 1941), 18–19, lot 97, ill.
Laura Beach, "The Hennage Bequest: Colonial Williamsburg Crowns Its Collections," Antiques and the Arts Weekly (January 29, 2021): 30, ill.