image of object
From: Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport Rhode Island 1640– 1820 (Newport, R.I.: The Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 85, no. 57
Click the image to enlarge

Pembroke table

Object number



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


Height: 27 1/2 in. (69.85 cm) Width, closed: 29 3/4 in. (75.565 cm) Width, open: 36 3/4 in. (93.345 cm) Depth: 33 3/8 in. (84.773 cm)



Current location

Private Collection


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


Mahogany (primary); maple (hinged rails); white pine (stationary rails, drawer linings, drawer supports, and drawer guide)




"Back," in graphite, inside back of drawer; large, looping letters, possibly "F" for front, in graphite, at front corners inside drawer sides. "O" and "X," in graphite, on interior side rails and rear rail. "Mr. and Mrs. / John H. Benson / 62 Washington St. / Newport RI.," in black ink, on a paper label glued to underside of drawer


Probably originally owned by Thomas Robinson (1730–1817), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent in his family to his daughter, Molly Robinson Morton (1757–1829), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her daughter, Esther Morton Smith (1797–1865), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her son, Benjamin Rapier Smith (1825–1904), Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to his daughter, Mrs. Henry A. Wood, Sr., Newport, Rhode Island; by descent to her grandchildren. Mr. John Howard Benson (1901–1956) and Mrs. John Howard Benson (née Esther Fisher, born 1908), Newport, Rhode Island, before 1976; sold to John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., Old Lyme, Connecticut, 1976; sold to a New York private collection

Associated names

Benjamin Raper Smith
Mr. John Howard Benson
Thomas Robinson
Mary Robinson Morton
Esther Morton
Henry A. Wood
John S. Walton, Inc.


The rectangular single-board central portion of the top has square edges. At the center of itsunderside is a slight chamfer as well as very slight toothing plane marks. The joint between it and its rectangular square-edged falling leaves is quarter round. They are attached by means of four sets of iron hinges, each leaf thrice-screwed into top and leaves, set slightly inward from the legs and marked by prominent scribe lines. The top is screwed to the frame with screw pockets- two each in the outside of the outer rails, and one in the rail opposite the drawer. There is also a screw into the top through the top rail above the drawer. The outer rails each contain a trapezoidal leaf support with a square, five-toothed hinge reinforced by two screws and flanked by a stop nailed with three rosehead nails on one side, and a carved finger hole on the other. The outer rails are connected to the legs with mortise and tenon joints exhibiting scribe lines and two wood pins apiece. The inner and outer rails are joined by five rosehead nails apiece. The frame contains a single drawer with a cock-beaded surround. The frame has a transverse stop tenoned into the inner rails, coplanar with drawer guides nailed to them. Chamfered drawer supports are nailed with rosehead nails to the bottom of the drawer guides and to the drawer stop. An upper longitudinal drawer guide is nailed to the underside of the top. The drawer sides have chamfered tops; the drawer-back top is chamfered at the back and corners. The single-board drawer bottom is feather-chamfered at the front and sides and set into grooves in the drawer front and sides. The drawer back is not nailed. There are glue block/drawer runners (one missing) in the joints between drawer bottom and drawer sides. The drawer front has fine, thin-necked dovetails with half-pins above and below and short, coarse kerf marks. The straight legs are four-stop-fluted at their outside edges and joined by an X-form openwork stretcher tenoned into their chamfered inside corners. A gadrooned molding is screwed to the bottom of the stretcher and a chamfered X-form brace is screwed to the bottom of the molding at the center. Examined by P. E. Kane and D. Carr, May 9, 2006; notes compiled by T. B. Lloyd.

See also


Ralph E. Carpenter, Jr., The Arts and Crafts of Newport, Rhode Island, 1640–1820 (Newport, R.I.: Preservation Society of Newport County, 1954), 85, no. 57, ill.
"John S. Walton Antiques, Inc., advertisement," Antiques 109, no. 2 (February 1976): 220, 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), 379n12.