Tilt-top Tea Table

Hampton National Historic Site, National Park Service

Hampton National Historic Site, National Park Service

From the mid-19th to mid-20th century, the principal suites of Baltimore furniture in Hampton’s Drawing Room were supplemented by several pieces of imported furniture with lacquered surfaces. These pieces, made in China c. 1800-1860, are typical of the vast quantities of Oriental goods purchased by Maryland families in this period. As is characteristic of these China trade goods, the table combines elements of Western design (round top, turned shaft, and pedestal base) and even construction techniques (the bird cage mechanism) with Oriental landscape decoration. The tilt-top tea table was one of the first pieces of Western furniture to be reproduced in China. Surviving examples date from the 1730s, and the traditional form was still being made well into the 19th century. The design of the shaft and base of Hampton’s table, showing the influence of late Neoclassical design, most likely dates it to c.1840.

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