Collections › MESDA Collection › Dressing Table

Dressing Table

Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
walnut –yellow pine
HOA: 28 5/16; WOA: 32 7/8; DOA: 20 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Dressing table with molded overhanging top above three drawers; decorated with deeply scalloped and molded edge skirt; apron has two drops; cabriole legs terminating in sharp-edged pad feet; the stile dividing the drawers extends downward, by a small strip, and is held by mortise, thus supporting the apron; drawers are supported by center support.

RELATED OBJECTS: This dressing table is one of three examples with the same shaped skirt and pendant drops made by an as yet unidentified pre-revolutionary Norfolk, Virginia, cabinetmaker. Of the three dressing tables, two – one in a private collection and the other at Colonial Williamsburg – have provenances that link them to Norfolk, Virginia.

This dressing table bears a remarkable similarity – in both style and execution – to examples made in the Connecticut River Valley. This suggests that the unknown cabinetmaker responsible for this piece may have immigrated to Norfolk from New England. However, the flush bead that outlines the skirt and the fully finished top edge are not common features on Connecticut dressing tables. Indeed, a comparison of the three known tables from this shop suggests that the cabinetmaker adapted his New England style over time to better meet his clients’ tastes. For example, the profile of the feet on the Colonial Williamsburg example more closely mimic urban British examples.

Credit Line:
MESDA Purchase Fund