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Conceived and executed as a masterpiece, this table has been designed to harmonise with a four-poster bedstead, fire screens and a silver waiter, all commissioned at the same time for John and Elizabeth Cadwalader. 
 
The Thomas Affleck bill, 13th October 1770 itemises the tea table, supplied on the 10th January 1771.
 
Four days later on the 14th January 1771, four fire screens, turned and carved to the same pattern, were supplied (identified in the Winterhur Cadwalader Study as ‘Group A’).  
 
The asymmetric scalloped top displays a direct synergy with the prestigious and valuable Lloyd family silver salver made by Jacob Marsh, London, 1754.  
 
Infra-red photography has revealed an original ink inscription underneath the stain and varnish on the underside of the tea table top.  The large inscription identifies as ‘Cadwalader’.
 
The profusely carved table, which retains much of its original finish, emerged in 2014 from the same South of England auction house as the Cadwalader four-poster bedstead rediscovered in 2013.  
   
   

PROVENANCE

 

     THE 1770 AFFLECK BILL

 
 
Affleck charged £4 10s for the tea table prior to carving. His bill totalled £119 8s. Carving is billed separately by James Reynolds at £37 and Bernard and Jugiez at £24 4s, highlighting the only three potential carvers of the tea table.
 
The strength of comparisons to known Bernard & Jugiez architectural carvings has lead to the accepted attribution for their carving of the four fire screens. A specific attribution for the carving of the tea table is difficult. We note small differences in the leaf form to that of the fire screens; this may be the subtle differences between the hands of Bernard and Jugiez, or the variant caused by Reynolds working to this same design.
 
In 1996, Christies sold a refinished Philadelphia tea table with a suggested Cadwalader provenance, using the Affleck bill of 1770 to highlight the possible connection. The Christies tea table is likely to be one of the many documented tables furnishing the Cadwalader mansion.  However, the direct comparison of the present tea table to the Cadwalader fire screens provides an exact parallel in design and carving.
 
Christies have calculated the cost of carving per item:
   
                                      
In his itemized list of household work and furniture made for Cadwalader between October 13, 1770 and January 14, 1771, Affleck noted on January 10, 'To a mahogany tea table...L4, 10,-' and finally, 'To Mr. Reynolds Bill for carving the above...L37 To Barnard and Jugies (sic) Ditto for Ditto...L24, 4...' 
 
This total cost of L61, 4 for carving would have been in addition to Affleck's bill of L119, 8 for the tea table, as well as two mahogany desks, three mahogany sofas, one mahogany easy chair, two card tables, a breakfast table, a night table, three firescreens and a harpsichord frame. 
 
Assuming that each of these mahogany items was carved in an equally rigorous fashion, the pro-rated cost of additional carving over fifteen items suggests that this work at least doubled the cost of the tea table.
                                   

This would make the Cadwalader tea table on the Affleck bill one of the most expensive tea tables available according to the rates described in The 1772 Philadelphia Furniture Price Book and correlates with the impressive carving, especially the atypical ornately-carved, scalloped top on the present table.  

It is likely that both the tea table and the recently discovered Cadwalader four poster bed follow the accepted line of descent of the saddle seat side chairs, which emerged at Sotherby’s in London in 1974, having been brought to London with Dr. Charles E Cadwalader in 1904.
 

CT1

   Highlighting of ‘mahogany Tea Table’ & ‘4 Mahogany fire screens’ on Affleck bill, October 13th 1770.