ca. 1829–35
pine; gold leaf, white marble, mirrored glass
United States,New York, New York
Overall: 37 × 66 3/4 × 23 1/2 in. (93.98 × 169.55 × 59.69 cm)

This grand and elaborate pier table exudes the fashionable splendor recommended in 1821 by English Regency tastemaker Rudolph Ackerman in his monthly periodical Repository of the Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashions and Politics. Its form was disseminated among American cabinetmakers through English pattern books by leading designers such as Thomas Hope and George Smith.

According to oral tradition, this table originally stood in a Fifth Avenue townhouse. But it just as likely graced the urban parlor of a southern planter. Although wealthy southerners imported many furnishings from England, a series of economic and political events forced fashion-conscious consumers to turn to the North for their goods. As the largest exporter of southern agricultural products, New York was well situated to meet the needs of southern buyers already in business with local merchants and bankers. The relationship encouraged New York firms like Joseph Meeks and Sons to establish agents and warehouses in the South. Their success is captured in the words of Margaret Manigault of Charleston, South Carolina, who exclaimed in 1811: “When I want chairs again, I shall certainly send to New York for them!”

Adolph D. and Wilkins C. Williams Fund
From New Jersey, possibly made for a residence on Fifth Avenue, New York. [1] (Peter Hill 19th Century Arts, East Lempster, NH) by 1977; Purchased by Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA), Richmond, Virginia in April of 1977. [2]

[1] Unconfirmed. See VMFA Curatorial file.

[2] Accessioned April 20, 1977.

Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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