Collections › MESDA Collection › Dressing Table

Dressing Table

Artist/Maker:
Walker, William, Jr. __Attributed to
Place Made:
Stafford County Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
1770-1775
Medium:
mahogany –cherry –poplar
Dimensions:
HOA: 27 1/4; WOA: 20 1/2; DOA: 30 3/4
Accession Number:
2023.16
Description:
DESCRIPTION: Dressing table, the top with molded edge and pinched-in corners; supported on a frame set with two lipped-edge drawers mounted with original plate brasses; the corners of the frame decorated with fluted bevels; the whole supported by cabriole legs terminating in claw-and-ball feet; carved C-scroll with volute at knees.

Stylistically, the table’s elegant cyma-curve legs framed at the knees by carved C-scrolls with voluted terminals were part of the Rappanahock River Valley design vocabulary as discussed by Ron Hurst and seen on a dining table at Colonial Williamsburg (1991-161).

MAKER: This table has, at various times, been attributed to the shop of Benjamin Bucktrout in Williamsburg, Virginia, and to an unknown cabinet shop in Albemarle County, Virginia. However, research conducted by Robert Leath and summer institute student Emily Morris suggests that this table was made by William Walker, Jr., the son of architect and builder William Walker (c.1705-1750) and nephew of cabinetmaker Robert Walker (c.1710-1777). This attribution is based on stylistic, construction, and genealogical evidence.

WOODS: mahogany top and drawer fronts, cherry legs and frame, poplar secondary.

The table’s strange admixture of woods – mahogany for the top and drawer fronts, cherry for the side rails and legs – mirrors the mixing of woods seen on objects made in the shop of Robert Walker, like MESDA’s tea table with its mahogany top and cherry base. William Walker, Jr., orphaned at a young age, probably apprenticed in his uncle Robert’s shop.

History:
Probably first owned by Catherine (Goodloe) Lindsay (c.1750-c.1820) of Spotsylvania and later Albemarle County, Virginia. Genealogy provides the strongest connection between this dressing table and the cabinetmaker William Walker, Jr. Affixed to the bottom of the table is a twentieth-century paper label that documents its descent. Mary Frances (Lindsay) Durrett (c.1775-c.1800) is the earliest generation listed on the label. However, the age given on the label (“130 years old”) would suggest that it first belonged to her mother, Catherine (Goodloe) Lindsay (c.1750-c.1820). Catherine Goodloe married Daniel Lindsay in 1769. At the time of their marriage Catherine and Daniel’s parents each gave the new couple 300 acres of land. William Walker, Jr., witnessed the deed from Catherine’s parents to Daniel. The association between Catherine (Goodloe) Lindsay and William Walker, Jr., is particularly significant because of the table’s line of descent in the Goodloe and Lindsay families who had lived in Spotsylvania and Caroline counties.

Credit Line:
Gift of Mrs. Theo L. Taliaferro