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Photo: Courtesy Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, R.I.
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Card table

Object number



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


Closed: 26 1/2 × 34 3/4 × 18 in. (67.31 × 88.27 × 45.72 cm)



Current location

Redwood Library and Athenaeum


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (stationary and hinged rails); chestnut (batten); pine (glue blocks)




"Townsend Table / Mrs. Redwood's Table / Miss Ellen Townsend," engraved on brass plate on front (since removed); illegible chalk on inside of stationary rail; “A,” in graphite, on exterior proper-left hinged rail; “B,” In graphite, on exterior proper-right hinged rail


William Redwood (1734–1794), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his wife, Mrs. William Redwood (née Sarah Pope, about 1739–1819), Newport, Rhode Island, after 1794. Ellen Townsend (1809–1887), Newport, Rhode Island, before 1883; given to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, Newport, Rhode Island, 1883

Associated names

Ellen F. Townsend
William Redwood
Sarah Pope Redwood


The oblong, single-board top has rounded edges and is rectangularly convex-blocked at each corner and in the middle of the front edge. It is joined to its conformingly shaped single-board top leaf by brass hinges in their rear corners. There are two leaf-edge tenon joints. The top is secured to its conformingly shaped frame by large, horizontal chamfered glue blocks- two at the front rail, four at the rear inside rail, and one each at the side rails- and by a transverse batten at the middle of the top, set into grooves in the long rails and fixed to the top with rosehead nail pockets. The batten is flanked by a rectangular horizontal glue block and the shadows of another, now missing. Within each front corner of the frame are two rectangular vertical glue blocks, one reinforced with a rosehead nail. The rear inside rail is joined to the short, stationary portion of the rear outside rail by rosehead nails, some visible, some obscured by glue blocks. The front and side rails are tenoned without wood pins to the blocks atop the front legs. The side rails meet the ends of the rear inside rail in rabbeted dovetail joints, having long, finely cut, narrow-necked pins with half-pins above and below. Each rear leg swings out by means of a round, carved wood, five-knuckled hinge. Each swinging rail is tenoned, with two wood pins, to the block atop the rear leg. Plain knee brackets are glued to the front face of each rear leg. The angular, square-sectioned front legs are carved at the knees and the glued knee brackets with stylized acanthus motifs. The tendons at the ankles are deeply carved, and the claws have prominent knuckles and undercut talons, grasping undercut elongated ball feet. The rear legs are similarly angular and square-sectioned, ending in shod pad feet with incised heels. Examined by P.E. Kane and J.N. Johnson March 26, 2014; notes compiled by T.B. Lloyd.


Some Rhode Island card tables on cabriole legs with claw-and-ball front feet and pad rear feet have blocked corners, as well as blocking at the center of the front skirt. See the related examples below.

See also


Joseph K. Ott, The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture, exh. cat. (Providence: The Rhode Island Historical Society, 1965), 40–41, 164, no. 34, ill.
Liza Moses and Michael Moses, "Authenticating John Townsend's and John Goddard's Queen Anne and Chippendale Tables," Antiques 121, no. 5 (May 1982): 1135, fig. 13.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 142, 152, fig. 3.74.
Morrison H. Heckscher, John Townsend: Newport Cabinetmaker, exh. cat. (New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2005), 85, no. 4, ill.
Morrison H. Heckscher, "Newport and the Townsend Inheritance," Antiques 167, no. 5 (May 2005): 101, pl. 3, ill.
Joseph K. Ott, "The John Brown House Loan Exhibition of Rhode Island Furniture," Antiques 87, no. 5 (May 1965): 564–65, fig. 4.
John Tschirch, "A Classic Revisited: The Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, Rhode Island," Antiques and Fine Art 15, no. 4 (Winter 2016): 153–54, fig. 8.