Collections › MESDA Collection › Gateleg Table

Gateleg Table

Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
walnut, cypress, yellow pine
HOA: 29 1/2; WOA: closed 17; open 57 1/2; DOA: 47 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Gateleg table: Oval top and two drop leaves; eight vasiform turned legs terminating in ball feet, connected by heavily worn turned stretchers; two gates that swing to support the leaves; leaves with a squared edge and are connected by tongue-and-groove joints; frame supports a single drawer with wooden knob.

CONSTRUCTION: The method of applying the drawer runner or support is unusual and, though original, its exposed end opposite the drawer end would seem to be an afterthought. This support has been seen on other tables of Coastal Carolina origin.

REGIONAL ATTRIBUTION: This table has balustrade leg turnings of a form that is common on tables from the coastal cities and towns of Massachusetts and Connecticut, and the table very likely would have been attributed to New England were it not for the presence of cypress, a wood used predominately in the furniture of the Charleston area. Cypress is rarely encountered in furniture made north of the Lower Chesapeake region but was a predominant conifer used by Charleston cabinetmakers.

WOODS: walnut, drawer bottom of yellow pine, drawer back of cypress

The table descended in the Laurens family of South Carolina, and according to family tradition was owned by Henry Laurens (1724-1792), the prominent Charleston merchant and patriot who served as third president of the Continental Congress. Henry probably received the table from his parents, John Laurens (1695-1747) and Hester Grasset, French Huguenots who were married in New York and moved to Charleston in 1715, approximately when this table would have been made.
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