Drop-leaf Pembroke Table

Maker: John Townsend (1732–1809)

Date: ca. 1795

Geography: Made in Newport, Rhode Island, United States

Culture: American

Medium: Primary wood: mahogany and lightwood inlays; secondary woods: maple and chestnut

Dimensions: Open: 27 1/4 x 36 1/2 x 33 1/8 in. (69.2 x 92.7 x 84.1 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. J. Carl De La Cour, Jr., 1980

Accession Number: 1980.293


In the 1790s, John Townsend began making furniture—primarily Pembroke tables and card tables—in the new Neoclassical style. Tapered legs with inlaid lightwood veneers—usually bookends over carrots (as here) or bellflowers—replaced the stop-fluted straight legs found on his earlier pieces. Although the precise and elegant interior construction that is one of this cabinetmaker's signatures as a craftsman did not change, Townsend documented his authorship by pasting his label inside the drawer.