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Dressing Table

Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany –cypress
HOA: 27 1/4; WOA: 31 3/8; DOA: 19 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Dressing table with molded top on four sides with indented corners. Three drawers with original etched brasses on two drawers. Cabriole legs but with rather abrupt turn at body and pad feet on cylinder under-pad. Apron has arch below center drawer.

STYLE: The taste for “neat and plain” even in wealthy Chesapeake households had its counterpart in the Low Country, and the conservative transitional style and very British aspect of this table reflect that taste. As was common in Charleston, the table was never fitted with drops, despite the shaping of the skirt.

SCHOOL: This example is related to four other tables apparently made in the same shop. A feature common to all members of this group is the central peaking of the flat arches on the fronts, sides, and once on the back. The front design of the apron on four of these tables incorporates square elements which in earlier (i.e. William and Mary style) tables would have had drop finials. Additionally, all but one have identical legs and similarly molded tops with “pinched” corners. Throughout the group is found the typical Charleston “pad foot on cylinder.” A final interesting feature of this group is the often-found technique of using a tooth plain to finish mahogany interior surfaces.

BRASSES: Two of the chased brasses are original and help in assigning a probable date range for the table. Such brasses were rapidly declining in favor by the early 1740s; these are transitional in nature, since they employ cast posts rather than wire or “cotter pin” fasteners.

This dressing table descended in the family of Joseph Hall Waring (1784-1841) of Pine Hill Plantation near Summerville, South Carolina. Waring is buried in the Pine Hill family cemetery along with his grandfather Joseph Waring (1726-1761), whose probate inventory lists a “Mahogany Dressing Table and Looking Glass” valued at 12 pounds.
Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund