Tea Table
Box “bird cage”
Norfolk, Virginia
C. 1780
33″ diameter, (32″ cross grain) H. 27.5″

The definitive scholarly work on the furniture of Edenton, North Carolina is Newbern and Melchor’s Edenton Furniture and Culture, Colonial and Federal Periods, published in 2008.  Among the challenges the authors tackle is the difficulty of differentiating the early furniture of nearby Norfolk, Virginia and Edenton, especially tea table such as out example.  Separated by only 70 miles the two towns were early colonial  ports serving the eastern tidewater regions of both Virginia and North Carolina  with only Norfolk offering easy access to the Atlantic.  They shared much in the way of  commerce, culture, social and family ties and tradesmen and for a time were heavily reliant on each other as linked regional centers in a sparsely populated area.

This table is of particularly robust stock and proportions that often distinguish furniture produced in both Virginia and North Carolina.  It has battens that extend the the edges of the choice mahogany top and an open dovetailed box supporting the top. While like many of the tables in the larger group, it exhibits characteristics of both Norfolk and Edenton attributed examples, a number of details point to a Norfolk attribution; triangular blocks in all four corners within the box, bold column turnings and the large urn, shaping of the battens,and the shaping of the feet, legs and bosses. For a complete discussion of these tables, see pages 32-43 of Newbern and Melchor and in particular,Figure 44, page 42.

Family history records its purchase in Richmond.





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