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Photo: Courtesy Diplomatic Reception Rooms, United States Department of State, Washington, D.C., 78.69
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Card table

Object number



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


Closed: 27 33 1/2 16 1/2 in. (68.58 85.09 41.91 cm) Depth open: 33 1/4 in. (84.455 cm)



Current location

Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Department of State


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


Mahogany (primary); soft maple, hickory, yellow poplar, and northern white cedar [possibly thuja] (secondary)






Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, November 16–18, 1978, lot 1074; sold to the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, Department of State, Washington, D.C., 1978

Associated names



The single-board lower leaf has a rounded edge and square outset corners. The front and side edges are each alternately straight and serpentine. It is joined to its conformingly shaped top leaf by two pairs of brass hinges set into the rear corners of each leaf. There are two leaf-edge joints, each consisting of a tenon on the rear edge of the top leaf and a mortise on the bottom leaf. The top is secured to its conformingly shaped frame by two rectangular horizontal glue blocks at each rail (one is missing at the front rail, one at the rear), and by six screw pockets ? two each at either end of the front and rear rails, and one each in the side rails. A transverse batten is set into grooves in the front rail and in the central portion of the interior rear rail and attached with two screws to the underside of the top. Four rosehead nails and four later screws join the interior rear rail to the central stationary portion of the exterior rear rail. In the rear corners of the frame are vertical rectangular glue blocks (the proper left replaced) set into grooves. Each front corner contains two such blocks; one is missing in the proper left. The ends of the interior rear rail meet the side rails in rabbeted dovetail joints having thick-necked pins with half-pins above and below. The front and side rails are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to the blocks atop the front legs. The swinging portions of the outside rear rail move by means of round five-knuckled carved wood hinges. The ends of the swinging rails are tenoned and double-wood-pinned to their legs; the proper right leg has a third pin. The front legs have knee brackets attached with glue; the rear legs have no brackets. The front legs are angular, square-sectioned and acanthus-carved at the angular knees and at the brackets, with square ankles and prominent tendons and claws holding elongated ball feet. The rear legs have square-sectioned, angular knees, rounded ankles, and shod pad feet. Examined by P. E. Kane and J. N. Johnson, August 21, 2014; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Clement E. Conger, Alexandra W. Rollins, and Mary Itsell, Treasures of State: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the U.S. Department of State (New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc., 1991), 156, no. 70, ill.
Sotheby Parke Bernet, New York, The American Heritage Auction of Americana, sale cat. (November 16–18, 1978), lot 1074, 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. 15.
Michael Moses, Master Craftsmen of Newport: The Townsends and Goddards (Tenafly, N.J.: MMI Americana Press, 1984), 45, fig. 1.31.
"Sotheby Parke Bernet, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 114, no. 4 (October 1978): 625, ill.
Sarah B. Sherrill, "What's Where When," Antiques 130, no. 6 (December 1960): 1250, ill.
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), 333n2.