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Card tables, pair

Object number



Maker John Townsend, American, 1732/33–1809


27 1/2 34 1/2 16 7/8 in. (69.85 87.63 42.863 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany and lightwood inlays (primary); chestnut (glue blocks under top, drawer support, and drawer bottom); maple (medial brace under top and stationary rail); birch (hinged rail); yellow poplar (drawer sides); pine (drawer back)


"MADE BY / JOHN TOWNSEND, / NEWPORT.," printed, and "1794," in ink, lower right corner of labels on both tables; "C [or E] S.R" and "1794," inscribed on one label


"M," in graphite, on block between hinged rails and possibly also on exterior of proper-right hinged rail of one table; illegible graphite [probably "M"], in graphite, on block between hinged rails of other table; clippings of press coverage about Flayderman sale pasted on one drawer bottom next to label


James DeWolf (1764–1837) and Nancy Bradford (1770–1838), Bristol, Rhode Island; by descent to their daughter, Nancy Bradford De Wolf Homer (1808–1856), Boston; by descent to her daughter, Isabel De Wolf Pegram (1843–1892), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent to her daughter, Nancy B. D. Pegram Clark (1872–ca. 1947), Providence, Rhode Island; by descent in her family, until 1999; consigned to Christie's, New York, June 16, 1999, lot 228

Associated names

James DeWolf
Nancy Bradford
Nancy Bradford DeWolf Homer
Nancy B.D. Pegram Clark
Bradford - DeWolf Family
Isabel DeWolf Pegram


Each table has a single-board top, with serpentine line-inlaid front and sides, joined to its conforming leg with brass hinges inset at the rear corners. There are two leaf-edge tenons. The top is secured to the frame by screw pockets in the solid, veneered, serpentine front rail and in the rear, stationary rail, by multiple horizontal chamfered glue blocks (some missing) and by three transverse braces set into grooves in the front and rear rails and screwed into the underside of the top. The proper left serpentine side skirt contains a single drawer, with plain, solid, partially serpentine front. The drawer front is connected to its sides by a dovetail joint, having finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and half-pins with grooves below. The tops of the drawer sides are rounded and just shy of the top of the drawer front. The top of the drawer back is flat. The single-board drawer bottom, perpendicular to the drawer front, is nailed with brads into a rabbet in the drawer front and directly into the sides and back above. The drawer has two guides, one nailed to the rear, stationary rail, and one nailed to two of the transverse braces, both with brads. Supporting the drawer is a longitudinal brace set into grooves in , and nailed to to two transverse braces which are dovetailed into the front and rear rails. On top of this drawer support is a drawer stop. At the front corners of the frame are two vertical, chamfered glue blocks. There is a single such glue block in the rear corners, the proper left block being cut out to accommodate the drawer. The rear stationary rail is joined to the central, stationary portion of the hinged rail with rose-head nails. The ends of the stationary rail are attached to the side rails with dovetail joints, having finely cut pins with half-pins above and below. Both rear legs swing by means of round, five-knuckled wood hinges and join their rails in mortise and tenon joints, having two wood pins each. The square, tapered legs are "bookend," flower and line-inlaid on their outside faces down to their inlaid cuffs. Examined by P. E. Kane and W. S. Braznell, August, 22, 2012; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Christie's, New York, Important American Furniture, Silver, Folk Art, and Decorative Arts, sale cat. (June 16, 1999), 144–49, lot 228, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 164–67, no. 41.
"Calendar: The Arts Here and Abroad, a Compendium fo Exhibitions, Symposiums, and Lectures," Antiques 168, no. 2 (August 2005): 50, ill.