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Photo: Courtesy Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Conn., 1948.68.6
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Tilt-top table

Object number



Maker Unknown


Height: 25 in. (63.5 cm) Diameter, top: 28 in. (71.12 cm)



Current location

Lyman Allyn Art Museum


Probably made in Newport, Rhode Island
(view a map of Rhode Island)


Mahogany and sycamore(?)






John Deshon (1727–1794) and Sarah Deshon (née Starr, 1730/1–1794), New London, Connecticut; by descent to their daughter Mrs. Samuel Wheat (née Sarah Deshon, 1752–unknown), New London, Connecticut; by descent to her daughter Mrs. Archibald Mercer (née Harriet Wheat, 1792–1854), New London, Connecticut; by descent to her son William Mercer (1821–1871), New London, Connecticut; by descent to his son Frederick W. Mercer (1866–1949); by gift to the Lyman Allyn Art Museum, New London, Connecticut, 1948

Associated names

Frederick W. Mercer
John Deshon
Mrs. Samuel Wheat (née Sarah Deshon)
Mrs. Archibald Mercer (née Harriet Wheat)
William Mercer


The circular two-board (one board, probably an old repair) top has a raised, molded edge; its underside steps down slightly just inside the perimeter. Fixed to it with countersunk screws are two cleats (both have five screws, one has an additional, possibly later, screw hole) with rounded ends and quarter-round profiles near the ends and at the transition to their deeper middle portions. A circular brass catch-latch under the top attached with three brass screws locks it to the top of its pedestal in a brass plate. Dowels, integral with the straight side of the triangular pedestal top, fit into the inside faces of the cleats and allow the top to tilt up so that the table can stand in a corner when not in use. The corners of the incurvate-sided pedestal below are fluted half-columns, with turned capitals and bases, and rectangular plinths. One panel consists of a hinged door, opening to five small drawers, whose concave-blocked and kerf-marked fronts meet their slightly shorter, arched-top sides in dovetail joints having finely cut pins with half-pins above and half-pins with rabbets below. The partially incurvate drawer sides are cut from the solid. The flat drawer bottoms, perpendicular to the fronts, are fixed with brads to the front and sides. The concave-blocked drawer dividers fit into grooves in the pedestal walls and match the profile of the stiles integral cockbeading. The edges of the incurvate faces of the pedestal base are molded, the undersides are chamfered. Wrought-iron brackets conceal the joints between the legs and the pedestal base. One bracket is held on with rosehead nails above, the other with screws and rosehead nails. The sides and knees of the cabriole legs have stylized foliage carving; the legs end in stylized claw and ball feet. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson, March 30, 2016; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.

See also


Malcolm A. Norton, "The Cabinet Pedestal Table," Antiques 4, no. 4 (November 1923): 224–225, fig. 1.
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), 58n22, 327nn1, 4.