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Antiques Considered - August 26, 2009

This simple, primitive New England Hepplewhite table comes from a lady whose late father inherited it. The wood is maple, and the originality of the finish is in question.
The peg construction remains the vehicle for holding the boards together, as succeeding generations have not added nails to support it. The condition is good, and the table is sturdy. The table does not have a drawer.
Tables of this variety are not rare, but this one is quite nice. The tone of the wood is excellent, and whether the finish is original or not, the present version is attractive. I strongly recommend against refinishing the present surface.

Some call pieces of this genre "tavern tables", as they often appeared in roadside taverns and inns, but to do so overlooks their extensive presence in everyday homes.
Unless one has documentary evidence of a table having come from a tavern, we should avoid use of the term. From its design and composition, the maker intended the table for normal usage, and did not build it for more elegant homes.
As to age, this one dates from the first quarter of the 19th century, as an exact date, I should say, 1810.
I also venture to comment that unless the table bears a signature underneath, the prospects of ascertaining who constructed it are nil. The most we can conclude is that it is of New England origin, given the use of maple throughout, and, to speculate further, from its lines, that it possibly comes from Massachusetts or New Hampshire.
Because of the pleasing design, it would bring $1,500 in the right setting. If the owner discovers a signature, the price could escalate appreciably. The style is much in vogue, and the demand for these pieces continues to grow.
Earlier versions in the William and Mary style bring far higher prices, and consequently are more difficult to find.
Happy Antiquing...
• Lisa and Henry Lane Hull operate Commonwealth Antiques and Appraisals, Inc. at 5150 Jessie DuPont Hwy. (P.O.Box 35) Wicomico Church, Virginia 22579, a firm which he founded in 1973. The appraisal service began in 1976. Write to him there, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., with pictures and descriptions of items you wish to have him treat in “Antiques Considered.” Please include a stamped, addressed envelope if you wish a personal acknowledgement.
 

 

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