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Bureau table

Origin: America, Virginia, Williamsburg
OH: 30 3/4"; OW: 35 3/4"; OD: 20"
Mahogany, oak, and yellow pine
Museum Purchase
Acc. No. 2004-35
Appearance: Kneehole dressing table; rectangular, single-board top with ogee molded edges overhanging front and sides; case with one long drawer over two tiers of three graduated drawers, all with thumbnail molding around edges and full depth yellow pine dustboards; banked drawers each with shaped escutcheons with bail handles, top drawer with keyhole escutcheon and two pulls with shaped backplates and bail handles (replaced); central recessed cupboard with solid prospect door opens to reveal three yellow pine shelves and remnants of pinking inside; two brass, scrolled-end “H” hinges and surface mounted oval escutcheon on cabinet door (original); shaped brackets in upper front corners of prospect section; quarter round base molding (replaced) above four, straight-bracket feet with ogee returns at front and sides

Construction: Original top attached to tops of case sides with sliding dovetails; sides dovetailed to yellow pine bottom board; quarter round base molding (replaced) glued around front and sides of base; yellow pine boards (replaced) nailed to underside of bottom framing sides and front; 4 mahogany bracket feet (replaced), mitered at corners, with vertical glue blocks flanked by two horizontal glue blocks, attached to bottom framing at each corner; full depth yellow pine dustboards slid into dados in case and prospect section sides; mahogany drawer dividers notched on undersides to receive locks; front edge of case and prospect sides faced with mahogany veneer; mahogany brackets at front corners of prospect section with chamfered glue block behind; replaced glue blocks behind prospect door surround; mahogany sides of prospect section dovetailed to case bottom; yellow pine interior sides of ditto tenoned into bottom with two tenons each side; shelves slid into dadoes in pine sides; drawers with mahogany drawer fronts dovetailed to oak sides; sides dovetailed to yellow pine backs; oak drawer bottoms nailed to rabbet in bottom of drawer front and to bottom of back, resting in rabbet in drawer sides; top of drawer sides and back rounded; mahogany case sides and sides of the prospect surround have dados on the interior that have been filled.

Label:This bureau table is virtually identical to an example made by Peter Scott in 1754 for his landlord, Daniel Parke Custis. Clearly both were made by the same hand. The original receipt for the Custis table survives in the CWF collection (accession 1988-405); the table itself in the collections of George Washington's Mount Vernon.

Were it not for the native Virginia woods used in the CWF table's internal construction, the piece could easily pass for English work of the same period. Tables of this form were used for both dressing and writing.
Provenance:When published in Burroughs, SOUTHERN ANTIQUES (1931) the bureau table was owned by J. Pope Nash, a Richmond, VA, collector. It was then believed to have belonged to Patrick Henry.
Inscription(s):Illegible chalk inscription on top of sub-top.