STYLE: This single-drawer dressing table is typical of the South; Northern examples more frequently have three or five drawers. The legs make a rudimentary attempt at the bold, undulating turnings of urban high Baroque tables and six-leg chests, but in this example the turner revealed his ignorance of the crisp architectural form and detail required to make such turnings successful. The shaped cross stretcher shows somewhat less naiveté and is conventionally joined to the legs by a dowel extending from the feet into the upper legs.
CONSTRUCTION: The ends of the stretchers are cut round to match the turned legs, a feature that has not been observed on any other American table. The drawer is simply rabbeted and nailed, with the bottom dadoed to the sides and front. Other 17th-century construction details include the exposed mortises for the rail above the drawer and the height of the sides of the table frame, which are more than an inch shorter than the front of the table. The bottom edges of the sides are level with the top of the drawer rail, exposing the drawer guides, which are nailed to the supports. Such a primitive method is not unusual on American joined chests, but is seldom observed in dressing tables in this country. All the wood in this table appears to be pit sawn. The keyhole escutcheon is original.