Retaining its original surface and six of its drops, this dressing table is an exceedingly rare example of the form made with seven graduated drops – five on the front and two on the sides. With its use of vibrant walnut veneers, herringbone, and crossbanded borders, deep cyma-profiled skirt, and bold cabriole legs with cushioned pad feet, it is a lavish example of Boston furniture in the Queen Anne style. The top is enhanced with a large central panel of veneer divided into four sections, surrounded by a narrow band of herringbone, all within a wide outer border of crossbanded veneer. The two-tiered six drawer arrangement is unusual for the form as are the paired arches cut high in the skirt, flanking the central drop. The cushioned pad feet relate to those found on several groups of chairs made in Northeastern Massachusetts.1
One other closely related Boston dressing table of this type designed with seven drops is known in the collection of Historic New England.2
It was rescued from a fire in 1945 and consequently has replaced drops, knee brackets, and other repairs. Additional examples of the form made in the Boston area with simpler skirts include a dressing table at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and one at Winterthur Museum.3
1 See Nancy Richards and Nancy Evans, New England Furniture at Winterthur (Winterthur: The Henry Francis Du Pont Winterthur Museum, 1997): no. 7, pp. 14-5.
2 See Brock Jobe and Myrna Kaye, New England Furniture: The Colonial Era (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1984): no. 30, p. 184-6.
3 See Richard Randall, Jr., American Furniture in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1965): no, 45, pp. 57-9 and Richards and Evans, no. 158, pp. 302-4.