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Photo: Courtesy Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Del., 1958.0037
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China table


Object number

RIF1423

Maker

Maker, attributed to John Townsend, American, 1732/33?1809

Dimensions

Height: 27 1/4 in. (69.215 cm) Width, molding: 34 1/2 in. (87.63 cm) Width, frame: 33 7/8 in. (86.043 cm) Width, feet: 34 in. (86.36 cm) Depth, molding: 20 5/8 in. (52.388 cm) Depth, frame: 20 1/2 in. (52.07 cm) Depth, feet: 20 in. (50.8 cm)

Date

1785–90

Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library

Geography

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

Medium

Mahogany (primary); soft maple group (original upper cross braces); white pine group (replaced lower cross braces); chestnut (glue blocks)

Marks

None

Inscriptions

“B [later],” in chalk, on underside of top; “X,” in graphite, on underside of top and on one of the upper braces; mathematical figures, in graphite, on underside of top; “M [twice],” in graphite, on underside of top

Style

Chippendale

Provenance

Possibly John Townsend (1733–1809), Newport, Rhode Island, 1785–1790; by descent to his granddaughter Mrs. William P. Bullock (née Phila Feke Townsend, 1812–1866), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to her daughter Rhoda Peckham Bullock (1852–1940), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to her nephew Thomas Harris, Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to his wife, Mrs. Thomas Harris (née Dorothy Arnold, 1898–unknown), Providence, Warwick, Cranston, and Saunderstown, Rhode Island ; sold to Nathan Liverant and Son, Colchester, Connecticut; sold to Israel Sack, Inc., New York, 1958; sold to Winterthur Museum and Country Estate, Delaware, 1958

Associated names

Jabez Bullock
Mary Richmond Bullock
Rhoda Peckham Bullock
Dorothy A Harris
Nathan Liverant and Son
Israel Sack, Inc.

Construction

Into the perimeter of the rectangular, single-board top?s upper face is set a gallery with openwork scrolls and a serpentine crest. The gallery?s four sides meet at each corner in dovetail joints. The top is routed on the perimeter of its underside to receive the horizontal chamfered glueblocks (now reinforced with screws) which secure it to the frame below. The outside edge of the top ? a half-round fillet ? is visible below the pierced gallery. The connection of top to frame is reinforced by three transverse battens (one replaced) set into grooves atop the interior faces of the rails. Two more transverse braces (replaced) are dovetailed into the bottom of the long rails, their tails reinforced with brads. At the bottom of the rails? outside faces, continuing across the legs, is a horizontal field of diagonal incised lines below a beaded molding, whose method of attachment is not visible. The rails are tenoned into the legs, each joint showing one wood pin. Each interior corner of the frame contains two vertical chamfered glue blocks, one triangular, the other trapezoidal. At each juncture of frame and leg are two pierced brackets, glued and tenoned to the top of each leg. The legs are joined by openwork stretchers, tenoned into their chamfered inside corners. A gadroon molding is fixed with countersunk screws to the stretchers? underside, and the joint between them is laid out with scribe lines. The legs are stop-fluted on their outside faces. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, April 21, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

Bibliography

American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–1989), vol. 10, p. 68, fig. 7.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 73, no. 5 (May 1958): inside front cover.
Wendy A. Cooper, In Praise of America: American Decorative Arts, 1650–1830, Fifty Years of Discovery since the 1929 Girl Scouts Loan Exhibition (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1980), 142, fig. 160.
Michael Moses and Liza Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's Later Tables," Antiques 119, no. 5 (May 1981): 1158, fig. 10, 10a.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 157, fig. 3.79, 3.79a, 3.7.
Albert Sack, "Regionalism in Early American Tea Tables," Antiques 131, no. 1 (January 1987): 257, fig. 7.
Nancy E. Richards and Nancy Goyne Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur: Queen Anne and Chippendale Periods (Winterthur, Del.: Winterthur Publications, 1997), 244–45, no. 125, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 152–53, no. 36, ill.
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), 3, 376–79, no. 82.