Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Drop-leaf dining table

John Townsend (1732–1809)
Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States
Mahogany, maple
Open: 28 3/4 x 62 1/4 x 58 1/4 in. (73 x 158.1 x 148 cm) Closed: 28 3/4 x 17 1/2 x 58 1/4 in. (73 x 44.5 x 148 cm)
Credit Line:
Gift of Stuart Holzer and Marc Holzer, in memory of their parents, Ann and Philip Holzer, 2012
Accession Number:
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 719
John Townsend is the best-known and most accomplished of the great Newport cabinetmakers. Aware of his own exceptional talents, he made a habit of signing and dating, or labeling, his best works. This table, made when the craftsman was just twenty-four years old, is the earliest instance of such documentation. (It is signed and dated in pencil, in a bold and calligraphic hand, on the underside of the
top.) It is also the earliest datable example of the clawand-ball foot in Newport furniture.
Inscription: [in graphite, on bottom of fixed top board]: John Townsend 1756 /B
[in graphite, on one fixed side rail]: John [Towns[en]d
[in graphite, on adjacent fly rail]: John.
[in graphite, on opposite fixed rail]: Joh s Table.
[glued wove-paper label, on first fixed rail, embossed]: Dimanche
[glued wove-paper label, on first fixed rail, in ink]: J B M[?] P f[?]
Sale, Sotheby's, New York, Novermber 17, 1980, lot 1357; Philip and Ann Holzer, New York, 1980.
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