Collections › MESDA Collection › Breakfast Table

Breakfast Table

Artist/Maker:
Beall, Gustavus
Place Made:
Georgetown District of Columbia United States of America
Date Made:
1812-1820
Medium:
mahogany, oak, white pine
Dimensions:
HOA: 28 1/8; WOA: 42 3/8; DOA: 31 3/4
Accession Number:
2556
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Pedestal base breakfast table. Top with clover-shaped leaves over a frame mounted with false cock-beaded drawers in each end, one with original wooden knob. Single urn-turned and leaf-carved pedestal with four sabre legs carved at top with acanthus and below with reeding; terminating in brass claw feet.

INSCRIPTION: printed paper label affixed under the top: “Cabinet Ware-House/ GUSTAVUS BEALL,/ HAVING taken the Stand lately occupied by WORTHING-/ TON & BEALL in High Street, George-Town, respectfully/ informs his Friends and the Public in general that he has com-/ menced the above business, and solicits their patronage./ Having received a large supply of the best materials from/ New-York, and employed good and faithful workmen, trusts,/ that by his application and industry, he shall not be altogether/ unworthy of attention./ His furniture will me made in the newe[st]

MAKER: Gustavus Beall (1790-1866) was born in Montgomery County, Maryland, to Thomas Brooke Beall (1760-1801) and his wife, Sarah (Heugh) Beall (d. 1794). According to family tradition, Gustavus moved to New York as a young man to learn the cabinetmaking trade and returned home to Maryland. As the label on this breakfast table notes, he began his career partnered with an established D.C. cabinetemaker, William Worthington (1775-1839). Beall first advertised in Georgetown as being from New York in October 1812. In 1815 he advertised the extension of his business to include cabinetmaking, carving, turning, and upholstering, with competent workmen in the various branches “to furnish houses from the kitchen to the drawing room, in a style not exceeded in Europe.” Among the articles handled, in addition to furniture, were “Best curled Hair mattrasses, Best quality Feather Beds, Best Kidderminister Carpeting…Cords, Tassels & Fringes for Curtains….” By 1818, Beall began to speculate in Georgetown land and houses, and the next year he sold his entire stock in the cabinetmaking and upholstering business to Trueman West. By 1820, he had given up cabinetmaking and moved to Allegany County, Maryland, where he married Rachel Tomlinson and died in 1866. The 1850 and 1860 U.S. censuses list Gustavus Beall as a “Merchant” and a “Gentleman.”

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund