Tea table

DATE:
1730–1750
MATERIAL AND TECHNIQUE:
Cherry and eastern white pine
CLASSIFICATION:
Furnishings
DIMENSIONS:
26 3/8 × 28 7/8 × 19 1/8 in. (66.99 × 73.34 × 48.58 cm)
DEPARTMENT:
Decorative Arts and Design
LOCATION:
American Art - 18th Century, Level 4
CREDIT LINE:
Dallas Museum of Art, The Faith P. and Charles L. Bybee Collection, anonymous gift
COPYRIGHT:
Image courtesy Dallas Museum of Art
OBJECT NUMBER:
1985.B.13

General Description

During the late 1600s, the wife of King Charles II of England, Catherine of Braganze, became fascinated with oriental products and popularized tea drinking. By the end of the 17th century, England imported twenty thousand pounds of tea annually. Accompanying the tea were new rituals for its consumption, resulting in specialized pots, cups, kettle stands, and tables for serving and display. Tables with raised rims designed to prevent expensive tea accoutrements from falling developed around 1700. This particular table is among the earliest forms made in colonial America. The gracefully S-curved cabriole legs, known as "horsebone feet" from colonial documents, form a pleasing contrast to the rectangular top. The emphasis here is on excellence of form rather than ornament or color. Though the origin of this table is uncertain, evidence suggests it was produced in Connecticut, where cherry was frequently used to make formal furniture. Only one other surviving table is identical to this one, and it was owned by an early 20th century collector from Connecticut. Several related examples are also documented as coming from the Connecticut River valley.

Excerpt from

Douglas Hawes, "Tea table," in Dallas Museum of Art: A Guide to the Collection, ed. Charles Venable (New Haven, NJ: Yale University Press, 1997), 213.