image of object
Photo: Courtesy The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994.449
Click the image to enlarge

Dressing table

Object number



Maker, formerly attributed to Job Townsend, Jr., 1726–1778
Maker Unknown


30 7/8 34 1/4 22 1/2 in. (78.423 86.995 57.15 cm)



Current location

The Metropolitan Museum of Art


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


Mahogany (primary); yellow poplar (drawer sides and backs, drawer supports, interior guides for small drawers, and blocks behind front stiles); pine (drawer bottoms, backing of top rail, exterior drawer guides, backboard of case, corner blocks, traverse braces, and glue blocks between case sides and braces); maple (drawer runners and rabbeted blocks tenoned into the backboard)




“// X //,” incised on exterior back of upper drawer; “I” and “II,” in graphite, on exterior back of lower drawers; “I” and “II,” incised on interior backs and sides of lower drawers; “X,” incised below proper-left rear brace; "Prof Frieze," in graphite [location unknown]


Cornelius C. Moore (1885–1970), Newport, Rhode Island; consigned by his estate to Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, October 30, 1971, lot 129. Yvette and Thomas Cole, Westchester County, New York, by 1976; given to The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, 1994

Associated names

Cornelius C. Moore
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc.
Yvette Cole
Israel Sack, Inc.
Thomas Cole


The single-board, oblong top is molded at its front and side edges, and square-edged in the back. It is fixed to its case by four screw pockets in the underside of the top rail, by two screw pockets each in lateral transverse boards, and by two rectilinear blocks, each twice-screwed into the underside of the top. These blocks, chamfered at their front edges, are rabbeted at their back edge, the forward part of which is tenoned into the backboard. Beside each lateral transverse board, at the joints between top and sides, are two (the front proper right block is missing) rectangular longitudinal glue blocks. The single-board, straight-skirted backboard meets the single-board, scallop-skirted case sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins of slightly varying configuration, with half-pins above and below. Within the case are upper-drawer supports half-lapped to the drawer divider in front and set into grooves in the case back. In the upper front corners of the case are vertical blocks, rabbeted to fit around transverse, vertically arranged, boards serving as drawer guides for the upper and lower drawers. Lower-drawer supports are half-lapped (and nailed) to the skirtboard and set into grooves in the backboard. Lower-drawer guides meet the skirtboard in half-dovetail joints, are set into grooves in the backboard, and also serve as medial supports for the long drawer. The dividers below the long drawer are half-lapped to the skirtboard, and the lower-drawer guides are half-lapped to the dividers. The case stiles show evidence of old repairs. The upper portions of the legs are accompanied by rectangular blocks; at the front legs the inner blocks also serve as small-drawer supports. The long -drawer front-lipped, thumb-molded and kerf-marked ? meets its slightly shorter, flat-topped sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins, with rectilinear half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. Its single-board drawer bottom (now containing a medial splice), is parallel to the front, where it fits into a groove, and at the sides, where it is held on with several (later) layers of runners. The small drawers are similarly made, except for the bottoms, which are single-board, perpendicular to the fronts, and fixed to the elements above with a variety of cut and rosehead nails. The back edges of the drawer-back tops are rounded. The ogee-shaped knee brackets are held on with glue and some nails. The cabriole legs are angular in front and back, including their slipper feet. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, October 24, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 98–99, no. 63, ill.
"Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 100, no. 4 (October 1971): 505, ill.
Albert Sack, The New Fine Points of Furniture: Early American (New York: Crown Publishers, 1993), 211, ill.
Parke-Bernet Galleries, Inc., New York, Important American Furniture: Property from the Estate of the Late Cornelius C. Moore, sale cat. (October 30, 1971), 44–45, lot 129, ill.
Charles F. Montgomery and Patricia E. Kane, eds., American Art: 1750–1800 Towards Independence, exh. cat. (Boston: New York Graphic Society, 1976), 148–49, no. 97, ill.
Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Prints, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (January 15–16, 1999), 128, referenced in the catalogue entry for lot 679.
Bernard Levy, "Living with Antiques: A Collection in Westchester County, New York," Antiques 125, no. 5 (May 1984): 1135, pl. III.
John T. Kirk, American Furniture and the British Tradition to 1830 (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1982), 148, fig. 380.
A Walk through the American Wing, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2001), 31, fig. 23.
Jane Adlin, "Vanities: Art of the Dressing Table," Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 71, no. 2 (Fall 2013): 32, fig. 41.
John T. Kirk, American Furniture: Understanding Styles, Construction, and Quality (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 2000), 81, fig. 87.
Clifford P. Monahon, "John Brown House Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture," Rhode Island History 24, no. 2 (April 1965): 38–39, ill.