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

Object number



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


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)



Current location

Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library


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


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




“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


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


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.


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.
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.
"Israel Sack, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 73, no. 5 (May 1958): inside front cover.
Michael Moses and Liza Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's Later Tables," Antiques 119, no. 5 (May 1981): 1158, fig. 10, 10a.
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.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 152–53, no. 36, ill.
American Antiques from Israel Sack Collection, 10 vols. (Washington, D.C.: Highland House Publishers, 1957–89), vol. 10, p. 68, fig. 7.
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.