Art created in North America includes objects made by native cultures of the present-day United States and Canada; paintings and decorative arts produced during colonial times; 18th- and 19th-century masterpieces; and the work of contemporary artists and photographers.
34 1/2 x 39 1/4 x 22 inches
The Bayou Bend Collection
Gift of Miss Ima Hogg
Capital of the Rhode Island colony, Newport was an active center for
coastal commerce. Its cabinet industry benefited from the town’s shipping interests—her artisans producing furniture for local consumption, as well
as export. In time, two families, the Townsends and the Goddards, came to dominate the trade.
Displayed in the Drawing Room at Bayou Bend, this splendid bureau table is recognized as one of the most brilliant renditions of the Newport block-front—a design consisting of a recessed center panel flanked by two raised panels topped by gracefully carved shells. It is generally acknowledged as the most original design achievement to emanate from colonial America. This example is believed to have been made for Samuel Vernon, a prominent merchant, and was intended to store jewelry, buckles, combs, and brushes, with the kneehole cupboard housing a wig stand.
The museum’s table is confidently attributed to John Townsend who,
during the course of his lengthy career, signed or labeled more than thirty pieces of furniture, a number far greater than that of any other colonial cabinetmaker. This unparalleled body of documented work makes it possible to identify his cabinetry with a high degree of certainty. As such, Townsend’s furniture chronicles the maker’s rise to become one of America’s premier master craftsmen.