Jefferson acquired eight marble-topped tables while he was in France. Four were marble table tops with gilt borders, which returned to America in crate number forty-seven, identified as "quatre dessu de marbre de table avec bordure dores."1 Grevin, the fastidious master emballeur who packed Jefferson's belongings, made no mention of the bases for the four tables on his list. A reference to bases does appear, however, on the list of goods to be shipped from Philadelphia to Monticello in 1793, "plusiers pieds de table" (several table bases). Nonetheless, the origin of the bases is unknown; they may have been made in France or America.
Only three of the original four table tops are known today, two rectangular, one nearly square, and one round. The rectangular pair with trestle bases and snake feet stood in the Entrance Hall flanking the double-acting doors leading to the Parlor. (A fourth marble top table was returned to America with its base in tact.) One of the tilt-top trestle tables, now in a private collection, survives in its nearly original stateŚwith the brass band intact, but without a gilded perforated gallery. The trestle on this table appears to have been made by an urban cabinetmaker, possibly in Philadelphia. Without specifying the nature of the work, payments were recorded in Jefferson's Memorandum Books to several Philadelphia cabinetmakers including Henry and Joseph Ingle, Joseph Barry, and John Aitken.
The second table, in Monticello's collection, lacks its original border and gallery, and has a top that has been entirely reworked. The gallery was replaced by a Monticello joinery-made band of wood with mitred corners. The trestle and snake feet, similar to its mate, are original.
|Origin/Purchase||top, Paris, France; base: Philadelphia, Pennsylvan|
|Object Type||Furniture and Lighting|
|Materials||mahogany; oak; marble|
|Dimensions||29 1/2 x 30 3/8 x 29 in.|