Educational
1850s
American
mahogany veneer, tulip poplar; marble top; brass casters
Milton, North Carolina, United States
Overall (with casters): 31 × 36 in. (78.74 × 91.44 cm)
2007.84

This robust center table, which blends late-classical and Gothic Revival motifs, is attributed to the shop of Thomas Day. The celebrated African American cabinetmaker owned one of the most successful furniture manufactories in the antebellum South. Born into a free-black Virginia family, Day learned carpentry skills from his father before relocating to Milton, North Carolina. By 1850, his shop had become the state’s largest cabinetmaking firm, operating with the latest steam-driven technology.

Day’s predominantly white clientele included affluent planters, businessmen, and politicians from several states. He also produced architectural ornamentation for the interiors of churches, schools, and residences.

A general gift from VMFA’s Friends of African and African American Art has funded the table’s recent conservation.

Kathleen Boone Samuels Memorial Fund
O’Leary, Elizabeth L., Sylvia Yount, Susan Jensen Rawles, and David Park Curry. American Art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Charlottesville: Virginia Museum of Fine Arts with the University of Virginia Press, 2010. (No. 49, p. 138-141).
Image released via Creative Commons CC-BY-NC

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