Collections › MESDA Collection › Pembroke Table

Pembroke Table

Place Made:
Norfolk Virginia United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany –birch –white pine –poplar
HOA: 28; WOA: 43; DOA: 34
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Pembroke table with drawer at front and false front at rear in appearance of drawer; molded top; lunetted corners on top with light inlay; straight legs with light inlay and bellflowers. This table is unusual in having pitch inlays. The birch inlays on the upper leg stiles are decorated with four petaled flowers and a lunetted border that are painted in imitation of ebony or mahogany inlay.

Close inspection reveals that the cabinetmaker used a quarter round gouge to remove small crescent shaped sections of the wood from birch panels. The relieved areas were then filled and painted.

The incised husks trailing from the pendant of the stringing on the legs in addition to the dot inlay below show the influence of Salem, Massachusetts, but the panels in the leg stiles are ornamented with lunetted borders and quatrefoil inlays executed with a pitchlike material that is typical of Norfolk. The same inlay has been observed on a large group of furniture attributed to Norfolk, including a pembroke table that descended in the Wilson family of Smithfield, Virginia, and another table with the Norfolk cabinetmaker James Woodward’s label. Both the method and the design of the inlay are suggested in some of the furniture made by William Little, who worked in Norfolk before moving to Charleston, South Carolina.

Sold in April 1977 from Ellerslie, the home of Mrs. John Dunlop near Petersburg, Virginia. Published in the Magazine Antiques June 1973.
Credit Line:
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cleve Harris