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textMahogany Dining Table
Coastal New Hampshire, circa 1760–1785
Mahogany, birch, pine
H. 28", L. 48", W. 48" (extended)
Courtesy of Richard A. Kenney American Antiques

At first glance it may appear that this table was made on the North Shore of Massachusetts. Typical of related tables from the area are the distinctive creased knees, finely carved claw-and-ball feet, and the dense, figured mahogany. Unusual, however, is the outline of the skirt rails, featuring reverse curves that meet at the center in a flat, beaded arch.
textMore idiosyncratic is the manner in which the top is mounted to the frame: Four rectangular blocks are glued and nailed to the underside of the top and pegged horizontally through the blocks into the side rails. This ingenious cabinetry did not bind the components, which often led to splitting and separated tops as a result of temperature and humidity changes, but provided for movement so the table would remain intact as a unit.

The design and construction elements featured in this table are consistent with a group made in the Portsmouth area of New Hampshire. See Brock Jobe et al., Portsmouth Furniture: Masterworks from the New Hampshire Seacoast (SPNEA, 1993), no. 55, pp. 243–245.

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