PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR
Appears to retain original hardware.
Margaret F. Hopkins, Colchester, Vermont;
Jim Dickerson Auctions, Charlotte, Vermont, August 29, 1996 for $240,000 ;
G.K.S. Bush, Washington, D.C.;
Marshall Field, Chicago, Illinois;
G.K.S. Bush, Washington, D.C.
With its bold outline and minimal surface treatment, this dressing table represents a signature Newport case form with one long over two short drawers, a scalloped skirt with a large central shell, and cabriole legs. The pad feet and applied cove molding under the top places this one in a group of like tables dating to after 1750 though its notched ogee skirt profile and the open center carved shell set within an inscribed arc relate it to more fully developed later dressing tables with claw front feet and rear pad feet.1 Of the twenty or so examples of the form that survive today, only a slipper foot example can be documented to its maker, Job Townsend, who billed Samuel Ward for it in 1746.2
A dressing table of this design with a similarly conceived shell and front claw-and-ball feet is illustrated in The Arts and Crafts of Newport with a history in the Hunter and Birckhead families.3 It is currently in the collection of Winterthur Museum. Another related example with pad feet and a shell by a different hand is pictured as "best" in The Fine Points of Furniture.4
1 For an example, see Clement Conger and Alexandra Rollins, Treasures of State, New York, 1991, no. 50, pp. 130-1. See also Nancy Richards and Nancy Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur, 1997, no. 173, pp. 343-4.
2 Oswaldo Rodriguez Roque, American Furniture at Chipstone, Madison, WI, 1984, no. 17, pp. 38-9.
3 See Ralph Carpenter, The Arts and Crafts of Newport Rhode Island 1640-1820, Newport, 1954, no. 60, p. 88.
4 By Albert Sack, New York, 1950, p. 193.
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