A very unusual antique table


Jennifer Lacker, a Connecticut-based antique-furniture and restorer, sent along this note:

Arthur Liverant, a third-generation antique dealer at Nathan Liverant and Sons, in Colchester, Conn., is presenting the Fowler-Brown family Pembroke table, which has been  held by the family since its creation, sometime before  1791.

Benjamin Fowler (1739-1818), a prosperous merchant in Wickford, R.I., is believed to have commissioned Peleg Weeden (1772-1839),  a silversmith who worked in Richmond, R.I., and later Wickford, to make the table. The piece, made of beautiful mahogany, combines many details copied from Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Director (1754) in a highly unusual form.

 The dropleaf edges are shaped in porringer corners; the straight legs with cuff feet are stop fluted but at the top of the leg; the lower cross stretchers are a series of undulating curves. This combination of features by a highly skilled craftsman is very unusual in American furniture.

The table has been included in Yale University Art Gallery’s epic online database of Rhode Island antique furniture for some time. See rifa.art.yale.edu.  Now it needs a new home. The heirs prefer a museum that would honor its Rhode Island background. Also for sale is a large collection of family documents. (See photo below.) If a museum doesn’t acquire this this beautiful example of furniture artistry, a  private collector might scoop it up.