image of object
Photo: Courtesy of Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Boston, 15.2.1
Click the image to enlarge

Pembroke table

Object number



Maker John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


Height: 26 3/4 in. (67.945 cm) Width, open: 33 in. (83.82 cm) Depth: 33 1/2 in. (85.09 cm)


probably 1788

Current location

Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Boston


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


Mahogany (primary); maple, yellow poplar, and chestnut (secondary)


"MADE BY / JOHN T[O]WNSEND / NEW[P]ORT," in ink, printed on paper label glued on inside bottom board of drawer; "1788," in graphite, barely visible at bottom left of label; in ink, remnants of double-line border around label




William Ellery (1727–1820), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter Mrs. William Channing (née Lucy Ellery), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her son William Ellery Channing (1780–1842, Boston); to the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Boston, as part of the William Ellery Channing Memorial

Associated names

William Ellery
Lucy Ellery Channing
William Ellery Channing


The oblong, rectangular, square-edged, single-board top is joined to its matching leaves by four pairs of metal hinges, each leaf thrice-screwed, set inward of the legs. The top is secured to the frame below by multiple screw pockets in the inner and outer long rails, and by horizontal chamfered glue blocks alongside the inner long rails, the short rail without a drawer, and the top rail above the drawer. Three transverse cleats set into the inner long rails are attached to the underside of the top. Lapped over two of them is a longitudinal strip also attached to the top, which prevents the drawer from tipping when pulled open. The drawer has a plain front, is set within a cockbeaded surround, and rests on supports with chamfered ends. Below the supports is one of two transverse cleats, dovetailed into the bottom of the inner long rails. Each outer rail contains a trapezoidal leaf support which swings by means of a circular carved wood hinge, and has a carved-out finger pull. Pierced brackets at the short rails are tenoned into the legs and rails. The square legs are stop-fluted on their outside faces, chamfered on their inside corners, and joined by X-form openwork stretchers with applied gadroon molding. Notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd from photographs supplied by the Colonial Society of Massachusetts.

See also


Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 150–51, 192–93, no. 35, fig. 65.
Morrison H. Heckscher, "Newport in New York," Antiques and Fine Art 6 (Summer 2005): 137, fig. 5.
Michael Moses and Liza Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's Later Tables," Antiques 119, no. 5 (May 1981): 1154, fig. 5– 5a.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 80, fig. 2.8– 2.8a.
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), 379nn3, 12.