American Federal Cumberland Action Dining Table, attributed to Thomas Constantine & Company, New York, or Thomas Seymour, Boston. Mahogany with white pine and poplar secondary; narrow top with broad hinged leaves having curved corners and comprised of a single board (24 3/4" W), over a straight molded frieze; four tapering, banded columnar supports are joined by a box stretcher and swing diagonally to support the extended leaves; sabre legs ending in brass hairy paw caps and casters. 28 3/4" H x 18 1/2" W (w/out leaves) or 68" W (w/ leaves) x 53" D. Circa 1815-1820. Note: English Cabinetmaker John Linnell is generally credited with devising the Cumberland Action table for the Duke of Cumberland in the late 1700s, although the feature was subsequently used in some American tables as well. The double gate leg feature allows diners to sit around the table without having a support leg in the way, while yet evenly supporting each leaf, and enables the table to be stored compactly when not in use. The banded supports on this table are very similar to those on a Cumberland action table bearing a label for Thomas Constantine & Co. of New York (ref. Matthew A. Thurlow: Aesthetics, Politics, and Power in Early-Nineteenth-Century Washington: Thomas Constantine & Co.'s Furniture for the United States Capitol, 1818-1819, published American Furniture, 2006, the Chipstone Foundation, figure 7). However, furniture historian Robert D. Mussey Jr. argues that the "Cumberland Action" table is exclusively a Boston form and that all examples can be attributed to Thomas Seymour (Robert Mussey Jr., The Furniture Masterworks of John and Thomas Seymour [Salem, Mass.: Peabody-Essex Museum, 2003], p. 327). Provenance: Deaccessioned from the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art. CONDITION: Refinished. Old repair to upper part of one leg. Patch repair noted to the center of one inner leaf edge where folds to meet top. Overall general use wear with some light fading.
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