Bureau dressing table

Edmund Townsend (American, 1736–1811)

Object Place: Newport, Rhode Island

Catalogue Raisonné

Eighteenth-Century American Arts No.38; RIF765


85.41 x 87.63 x 47.94 cm (33 5/8 x 34 1/2 x 18 7/8 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Mahogany, red cedar, yellow-poplar, chestnut

On View

Marilyn and John F. Keane Family Gallery (Gallery 127)




Case furniture and boxes

This impressive table is the only known labeled piece by Edmund Townsend, son of cabinetmaker Job Townsend and cousin of John Townsend. A respected citizen of Newport, Edmund Townsend was an accomplished furniture maker, and this table demonstrates his mastery of the block-and-shell motifs developed by members of the Townsend-Goddard family. More than thirty examples of this form, used primarily by women, are known today, attesting to their popularity at the time.


Original paper label on upper side of a drawer bottom: "Made by / Edmund Townsend / In / Newport, Rhode Island"

In ink on paper label on bottom of top drawer: "E. W. Caveaux"


Purchased from W.M. Jacobs; Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Maxim Karolik for the "M. and M. Karolik Collection of 18th century American Arts"

Credit Line

The M. and M. Karolik Collection of Eighteenth-Century American Arts