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[AC] Mead Art Museum at Amherst College; [HC] Hampshire College Art Gallery;
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Maker(s):Clay, Daniel
Culture:American (1770-1848)
Title:table
Date Made:1805
Type:Furniture
Materials:wood: cherry, yellow-poplar; base metal: brass
Place Made:United States; Massachusetts; Greenfield
Measurements:overall: 27 3/4 in x 34 in x 18 7/8 in; 70.485 cm x 86.36 cm x 47.9425 cm
Accession Number:  HD 57.018
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Description:
Pembroke table with one drawer in cherry that was orginally mahoganized, made by Daniel Clay (1770-1848) of Greenfield, Massachusetts, for Epaphras Sheldon (1779-1807) of Deerfield. Sheldon was billed on Aug 17, 1805 for "1 Pembroke Table $5.0". (Bill of sale is in the collection of PVMA Library.) Furniture designers introduced new forms to rural craftsmen and patrons before the close of the eighteenth century. Specialized, mobile breakfast or pembroke tables, less than three feet in length with cross stretchers and a drawer, were made in rural New England shortly after George Hepplewhite introduced them in "The Cabinet-maker and Upholsterer’s Guide" (London, 1788). The design book was advertised for sale in Hartford in 1799, and the term was in common use when Daniel Clay described this table as “Pembrook” in his bill of sale to Epaphras Sheldon. Born in New London, Conn., Clay probably trained in the Hartford area (or perhaps New York) with a cabinetmaker familiar with New York fashions; he moved to Greenfield, Massachusetts sometime before Nov. 1794, marrying Lucinda Smead in 1795. In 1794, he advertised in the "Greenfield Gazette" and had his first paper label printed; he used a simpler label after 1800: "MADE BY/ DANIEL CLAY :/ GREENFIELD/ MASSACHUSETTS." He also made Windsors and fancy chairs, dressing and card tables, clock cases, chests, candlestands, and coffins. He expanded his business to include other ventures, but eventually all failed and he moved to NYC in 1832 to become a druggist. The design of this table illustrates Clay's knowledge of the patterns popularized by Hepplewhite with his use of the designs for portable "pembroke" or "breakfast" tables with cross stretchers, drop leaves, and a drawer with a brass pull. The rectangular table has a simple molded edge top with two drop leaves supported by fly brackets, two delicately pierced cross stretchers, and four plain tapered legs. Clay used a template to produce the distinctive stretchers, whose forms appear on other Pembroke tables (see 70.142).

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