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Sideboard Table

Place Made:
Charleston South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
mahogany –cypress –marble
HOA: 30 1/4; WOA: 40; DOA: 22 3/4
Accession Number:
DESCRIPTION: Slab top side table: Cabriole legs with shells on knees and claw and ball feet; shells are complete on the front and only half carved on the rear legs, which face the wall; rectangular marble top; front and side aprons have a covetto molding underneath the marble top that continues into a straight apron into the leg, whereupon a half-round bead molding is applied; corners of the apron are mitered; inner frame has two vertical square blocks at each corner; case has molded bottom.

CONSTRUCTION: Frame: Corner joinery: Pinned mortise and tenon (hidden by frame facings); two vertical square blocks at each corner of frame (two missing).

TERM: Tables with marble tops were sometimes simply called “marble tables” in the 18th century. The term “slab table” also appears to refer to a marble slab on a wooden base at least until about 1770. Until this date all-wood tables in this shape were called “sideboards” or “sideboard tables.” The earliest South Carolina mention of a marble top table is in the appraisal of Major William Blakeway’s estate in early 1727.

STYLE: This table is notable for its coved frame in the Chinese taste; its facings conceal the upper leg stiles, a sophisticated urban detail. The claw feet, familiarly known in Charleston as “eagle’s claws” during the colonial period, have well-rounded balls and strongly projecting talons, a typical regional form.

The marble top appears to be original to this frame as the under surface of the marble is unfinished with smoothing where it rests on the frame, and the design of the marble conforms to the design of the apron. There was no native Charleston marble; all marble was imported from abroad or from Philadelphia.

The table descended in the Ladson family of Charleston and is reputed to have been at the 8 Meeting Street home of James Henry Ladson (1795-1868) since he acquired the property in 1821. The son of James Ladson (1753-1812) and Judith (Smith) Ladson (1766-1820), he appears to have inherited one of the two marble top tables listed in the inventories of his great-grandfather, Joseph Wragg (d. 1751). A prominent merchant and member of the Governor’s Council from 1730 until his death, Wragg was married to Judith duBose (d. 1769). At the time of his death, Wragg owned “1 Marble Table” valued at 10 pounds at his Charleston townhouse and “1 Marble Table” valued at 15 pounds at Quarter House plantation, located on Charleston Neck.
Credit Line:
Funds courtesy Hanes, Short, Melchor, Kaufman families.