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Tea table. Mahogany with hard maple medial brace and white pine corner blocks. Rectangular top with molded and indented corners. Top nailed to front and back side rails. Applied molded edge rabbeted to top extends beyond rails. Applied skirt has scalloped edge with cyma curve and astragal pattern. Two out of four pine corner blocks remain. Rests on four attenuated cabriole legs that terminate in pad feet.
tea tables (tables)
tables (support furniture)
Although this tea table descended in the Barrett family of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, it displays typical Boston characteristics in the shape of its scalloped skirt, leg stance, and the form of its pad feet. Charles and Rebecca Barrett likely purchased the table in 1764, the year of their marriage in Concord, Massachusetts. Sarah Bradly and John Fulton of Boston, who married two years before the Barretts, owned an almost identical piece. Well-to-do Massachusetts residents began to use specialized furniture forms such as tea tables in the mid to late eighteenth century. Unlike the multifunctional drop leaf tables, craftsmen produced tea tables for the sole purpose of holding china tea services. The raised, molded edges that surrounded the tops of tea tables kept the teapot, cups, saucers, and the remainder of the tea service securely within its confines. The English derived the concept of the molded edge from Chinese tea tables, which Boston craftsmen emulated in turn.
Used at Barrett House (New Ipswich, N.H.),
26 5/8 x 28 5/8 x 20 3/8 (HxWxD) (inches)
Bequest of Caroline Barr Wade
Massachusetts (United States)