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Tea table

Object number



Maker Christopher Townsend, 1701–1787


25 3/4 × 32 × 21 3/8 in. (65.405 × 81.28 × 54.293 cm)


probably 1764

Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); pine (glue blocks)


"C Townsend joy[n] the piece / [in New]port in [17]64," in chalk, partially legible, on underside of top


"328 [underscore]/56" in graphite and "10 [underscore]/38453" in chalk on underside


Possibily owned by Thornton Briggs (1843–unknown), New Bedford, Massachusetts; probably by descent to his daughter, Mrs. Otto C. Wierum (née Mary Thornton Briggs, probably 1868–unknown), New York; by descent to her husband Otto C. Wierum (probably 1868–1950), New York; by descent to his grandson and his wife, Jean Hough Wierum (1925–2008) and Thornton Briggs Wierum (1925–2012), Hicksville, Long Island, Westport, Connecticut, and Minneapolis; consigned to Sotheby's, New York, January 20–22, 2006, lot 554; sold to Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc., New York; sold to a private collection

Associated names

Mr. and Mrs. Thornton B. Wierum
Bernard and S. Dean Levy, Inc.
Thornton Briggs
Otto C. Weirum
Howard family
Church family
Mary Thornton Briggs


A beaded quarter round molding is applied with wood-filled fasteners to the perimeter of the single-piece, oblong, rectangular top, the outside edge of which is visible beneath the molding. The underside of the top is chamfered at each corner, to allow space for two vertical triangular glue blocks inside each leg. The top is secured to the frame by multiple horizontal triangular glue blocks, and by fasteners under the applied quarter round molding. The rails are tenoned , without wood pins, to the rectangular blocks atop the legs. A quarter round molding is nailed to the bottom of each rail through its underside. At each leg are two coved brackets flush with the quarter round, applied to it and to the top of the knee with brads and glue. The square-sectioned cabriole legs, with angular knees and ankles, end in ridged slipper feet. Examined by P. E. Kane, January 21, 2006; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.


Sotheby's, New York, Important Americana: Including Property from the Collection of Mr. and Mrs. Elisha Hanson to Benefit the National Gallery of Art, sale cat. (January 20–22, 2006), 410–411, lot 554, ill.
Erik K. Gronning and Amy Coes, "The Early Work of John Townsend in the Christopher Townsend Shop Tradition," American Furniture (2013): 26, fig. 58–59.
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), 2, 210–213, 242, 328, no. 30, fig. 1–3.