In the late eighteenth century the term "pier table" came into general use, referring to the pier wall, the expanse between two windows or doors, where these tables were positioned. Thomas Sheraton observed, "As pier tables are merely for ornament under a glass, they are generally made very light, and the style of finishing them is rich and elegant. Sometimes the tops are of solid marble. . . ." Marble-topped, or slab, tables had long been popular in Rhode Island, and in this singular instance the form was reconfigured into a bold new contour, one equally suitable for the sideboard. The Bayou Bend table, with its molded legs and brackets, is a composite of the Rococo and Neoclassical styles. The complexity of establishing a precise date is underscored by a documented Marlborough-legged sofa by Adam Coe of Newport dated 1812, confirming the continued popularity of the earlier style well into the nineteenth century.

Book excerpt: Warren, David B., Michael K. Brown, Elizabeth Ann Coleman, and Emily Ballew Neff. American Decorative Arts and Paintings in the Bayou Bend Collection. Houston: Princeton Univ. Press, 1998.

Cataloguing data may change with further research.

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Pier Table
c. 1785–1820
Mahogany and hard maple; birch and eastern white pine
32 3/8 × 45 1/4 × 22 1/2 in. (82.2 × 114.9 × 57.2 cm)
Credit Line

The Bayou Bend Collection, gift of Miss Ima Hogg

Current Location
Bayou Bend Collection and Gardens
Accession Number

Possibly made for Nathan Bowen (1729–1814), Providence, Rhode Island, or for his son, Nathan Bowen II (d. 1848), Providence; by descent to his son, William Bradford Bowen (b. 1808), Providence; by descent to his son, Amos Miller Bowen (1838–1907), Providence; by descent to his son, William Manuel Perez Bowen (b. 1864), Providence; […]; [Harry Arons, Ansonia, Connecticut, by 1955; purchased by Miss Ima Hogg, 1955; given to MFAH, by 1969.