American Queen Anne Tilting Tea Table (Antique Side Table or Candlestand), Connecticut River Valley, Possibly Hartford, c. late 18th Century
Plain dish-molded top over birdcage support tenoned over a compressed-ball pillar terminating in triform snake feet
Item # 130002YRW19
This is a fine American Queen Anne Antique Tea Table crafted during the last quarter of the 18th Century, probably in the Connecticut River Valley. Of wonderful form and proportions, this very attractive piece is pure and relatively undisturbed, the finish being the only change over the last two centuries. Characterized by simplicity and a compression of lines, the design carefully balances the visual weight of the spherical top and oversized birdcage by squeezing the baluster as close to the legs as possible, perfectly dividing the mass of the table away from the midriff.
The top is a work of art, crafted of two solid Cherry boards joined nearly seamlessly, it was lathe-turned patiently and with great risk to the craftsman to produce a raised molded edge of the solid. The cleats are affixed to the underside of the top with symmetrically spaced original and undisturbed screws, these flanking the birdcage box structure that allows the top to spin freely. The birdcage is crafted with complex and possibly unusual construction, four baluster turned pedestals joined into the square (unidentified, possibly pine) softwood top and through the cherry bottom, the latter tenons wedged with splints for a pressured joint. Four iron bars penetrate at an angle down through the top and are twisted under the bottom, giving incredible strength and permanence to this delicate structure. An original clasp on the underside of the top still perfectly grasps the latch on the birdcage, both undisturbed with original screws still securing each (one later screw added to the clasp due to a loss at one corner).
The solid cherry pedestal joins through the birdcage, tapering as it penetrates the structure and is secured in a hollow in the top of the structure, joined with a wedged tenon that can be easily removed to lift the top from the pedestal. The pillar brings the entire form of this table together without flaw, the soft tapering form broken by sharp ring turnings over the nearly spherical baluster. The legs join into the base with large dovetails, their butt ends covered by a triform iron plate rosehead nailed into the legs and pedestal.
The thin legs are plain with an angular interior cut and a fine cabriole outer form, terminating in elongated pad feet. These are of incredible similarity to a tea table attributed to Hartford, Connecticut in American Furniture of the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Heckscher, 1985 fig. 128), likewise nearly identical to a square-top table at Sturbridge bearing the stamp of a Hartford cabinetmaker Samuel Kneeland (1755-1828) noted in Connecticut Furniture, Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Kirk, 1967 fig. 170).
This is a simply outstanding acquisition for any serious collector of furniture from the Connecticut River Valley, or purists seeking an investment grade work of art. The only flaws being the poorly repaired lip and that the early,dry and oxidized finish is not original, this is a very impressive and nearly untouched piece that will bring great value to any room it becomes a part of.
Materials: Round top, lower section of birdcage, pedestal and legs solid Cherry. Top of birdcage, cleats and turned balusters inside of the birdcage unidentified.
Measurements: 24 1/2" W (perpendicular to grain) x 24 7/8" D (parallel to grain); 27 5/8" H rested (in table position); 41 3/4" H tilted
Condition Report: Pure and unaltered, in very fine overall condition. Refinished, though finish is nice and dry, well patinated and probably mid-to-late 19th Century with some later waxing. Originally, it may have had a painted surface, with light traces of a white or blue paint in some recessed grain in the table top and pedestal. Lip of the table is cracked and poorly repaired with glue, leaving a tiny gap around rim. Feet show wear, one foot with a metal pad beneath it, all fully original. All hardware original, screws and cleats undisturbed and original, clasp on tilt top and latch on birdcage both are original and undisturbed, though a later screw is driven through the clasp due to loss of one screw hole. Minor dings and abrasions, more notably to the table top with little chips and scratches, though likewise to the feet, legs and pillar (non-noteworthy).
Item ID: 130002YRW19
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Period American Furniture, French Furnishings, Fine Nineteenth Century Art and Sculpture
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