Collections › MESDA Collection › Breakfast Table

Breakfast Table

Woodward, James
Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany, poplar, w.pine, sycamore
HOA: 27 5/8; WOA: 50 3/4; DOA: 38
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Breakfast table of mahogany and mahogany veneer with poplar legs, secondary woods of maple, white pine, poplar, and sycamore. The legs are painted bright green and have a gilt leafage.

MAKER: James Woodward was a highly productive cabinetmaker in Norfolk, Virginia, from at least 1793 until his death in 1839. He produced furniture for many of Virginia’s elite families, including this table for Humberston Skipwith and an arm chair (MESDA acc. 4033) from a set made for General John Hartwell Cocke. At Woodward’s death in 1839, his estate inventory revealed a large and complex cabinet shop, with over 125 pieces of furniture listed.

Documentation for this table lies in a bill from Norfolk cabinetmaker James Woodward to Humberston Skipwith of Elm Hill, Mecklenburg County, Virginia. Skipwith was a son of Lady Jean Skipwith of “Prestwould” in the same county. Woodward’s bill, dated 17 July 1819, included one item which nicely fits the MESDA table: “[To a] large Pillow [pillar] & Claw Breakfast Table [$]45.” One item, “To Puting up two looking Glasses & lamp” indicates that Skipwith was then resident of Norfolk, he having married Sarah S. Nivison of Norfolk in November of 1818. After her death he removed to his family home, “Prestwould,” and married Lelia Robertson. Their son Fulwar, inherited “Prestwould” and continued to live there after the death of Humberston in 1863. Austin, son of Fulwar, was the last Skipwith to live at this estate. The table was sold at auction in the 1940s.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund