Origin: America, South Carolina, Spartanburg County
OH: 28 1/8"; OW: 28 5/8"; OD: 19 3/8"
Black walnut, tulip poplar, yellow pine, mahogany, and holly
Museum Purchase, TIF Foundation in memory of Michelle A. Iverson
Acc. No. 2014-26
Rectangular table with overhanging top with rounded edge; one drawer in front skirt; wide holly banding with mahogany lunette or "half-penny" elements along bottom edge of front skirt and across tops of front legs; carved oval patterae attached to stiles on either side of drawer; staight tapered legs; double lobed solid brackets nailed between legs and front skirt.
Label:This simple table from Spartanburg County, South Carolina, near the border with western North Carolina, has a few characteristics that link it to a group of furniture from that region. The half-round lunettes (or half-pennies) inlaid along the skirt of the table are unique to the group as are the large double-lobed knee brackets between the skirt and the legs. The carved, applied, oval pattera at either end of the drawer are also rather unusual. Was this Upcountry South Carolina cabinetmaker trying to imitate something he had seen from a coastal urban center like Charleston or even Boston? Or did this design stem from his personal artistic aesthetic? The latter seems more likely. But one cannot discount the overall relationship to Charleston side tables or the lunette shape of Thomas Seymour’s inlaid banding from Boston, which in turn echoes British inlay.
Recent (2019) research into this group by June Lucas at MESDA suggests that this table may have been made by John Polly Martin (19805-1891) of Spartanburg, SC. Martin, appears listed as a cabinetmaker on the 1850 US census next door to George Brem (1809-ca. 1885). The connection between Brem, who signed a chest of drawers (MESDA D-33141) in this group, and Martin is not completely clear, but one family history suggests that John P. Martin and George Brem both trained Martin's son Thomas B. Martin as a cabinetmaker. Brem's work in the half-penny group is not as fine as that of this table, suggesting cabinetmaker John P. Martin as the possible maker of the table and related pieces. Further research may clarify the relationship between these two men.
Provenance:Purchased in the 1960s at a Spartanburg, SC estate sale.