Dressing table

About 1760–70

Object Place: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Catalogue Raisonné

Eighteenth-Century American Arts No. 55


Overall: 81 x 51.8 x 92.1 cm (31 7/8 x 20 3/8 x 36 1/4 in.)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

San Domingo mahogany, mahogany veneer, yellow-poplar, cedar

On View

Regional Styles in Middle Colonies Gallery (Gallery 134)




Case furniture and boxes

Figural motifs-such as the delicate swan carved on the central drawer of this table-are rare in American Rococo furniture. The table belongs to a small group of Philadelphia pieces embellished with scenes thought to be from Aesop’s “Fables.” The popularity of Aesop’s moralistic tales soared in the mid-eighteenth century, and illustrations from the stories were widely copied by English and American craftsmen on textiles, architectural elements, and other media. The fact that these tales, which warned against greed and vanity, decorated expensive luxury goods was an irony that may have appealed to, or been lost on, eighteenth-century consumers.


"The M. and M. Karolik Collection of 18th century American Arts." Purchased by Winthrop Sargeant probably while living in Philadelphia after the Revolution; to his son George Washington Sargent; to his daughter Janet Percy Sargent, who later married William Butler Duncan; to her daughter Mary Duncan who later married Paul Dana; to her son (?) William Butler Duncan Dana, husband of the last owner (by tradition, as told by Mrs. William Butler Duncan Dana, date unknown); purchased by the Karoliks, 19XX.

Credit Line

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