John Wildsmith (English, active 1757–69); John Mayhew (English, 1736–1811) and William Ince (English, active ca. 1758/59–1794, died 1804)
Pine, carved and gilded, composition, various marbles, semiprecious stones
(a) 37 x 60 1/4 x 31 1/8 in. (94 x 153 x 79.1 cm), (b) 1 7/16 x 61 5/8 x 33 in. (3.7 x 156.5 x 83.8 cm)
Gift of the Samuel H. Kress Foundation, 1958 and 1959 (58.75.130a,b)
The specimen-marble table top was supplied by John Wildsmith in 1759. Affluent Englishmen are known to have collected marble and pietre dure tabletops while visiting Italy on their grand tours. Lord Coventry never traveled to Italy, however, and this tabletop is a rare example of London manufacture, documented by the payment to the craftsman John Wildsmith in 1759. Wildsmith, who was also responsible for the marble mantelpiece in the tapestry room, inlaid 176 squares of differently colored hardstone specimens in a diagonal checkerboard pattern in order to display "all the curious sorts." The "large frame . . . on turned legs, neatly carved and the whole gilt in burnished gold" was supplied much later, in 1794, by the London firm of John Mayhew and William Ince.