Slab Table

Marble slab table. Thomas Jefferson Inc. Photography by Edward OweArtist/Maker: Unknown[1]

Created: 1760-1770

Origin/Purchase: England

Object Type: Furniture and Lighting

Materials: mahogany

Dimensions: 76.2 x 96.5 x 50.8 (30 x 38 x 20 in.)

Location: Dining Room

Provenance: Thomas Jefferson; by purchase to Jefferson Monroe Levy; by purchase to Thomas Jefferson Foundation in 1923.

Accession Number: 1923-30

Historical Notes: Slab tables known variously in eighteenth century America as marble tables, marble sideboards, and sideboard tables, were commonly placed against a wall in dining rooms or parlors for serving food and drink. Marble, although not impervious to stains, was a far more durable surface than wood. In the Hôtel de Langeac Jefferson attached a marble slab for serving directly to the wall in the dining room there.

This table was at Monticello when the house was acquired from Jefferson Monroe Levy in 1923. Little is known about its history, except that Levy attempted to acquire original Jefferson furnishings. If the table was Jefferson's, it is one of the earliest surviving pieces of furniture. It may have been one of the rare items to endure the fire at Shadwell in 1770.

The table has straight skirts, flat skirt and side rails, and rather straight cabriole legs terminating in unpierced claw-and-ball feet. The knees of the front legs are carved with acanthus leaves. The marble is a later replacement.

Footnotes

  1. This article is based on Stein, Worlds, 254.

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