William Hook Federal dressing table, (Salem, Mass)

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William Hook dressing table


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William Hook dressing table
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The Lane Family Federal dressing table attributed to cabinetmaker William Hook, Salem, Massachusetts, circa 1810.

This dressing table is an extremely rare and desirable form that survives in exceptional condition. It is impressive that this table retains both its original bowfront dressing box or glove drawers and what is likely its first surface. This elegant table is attributed to celebrated Salem cabinetmaker William Hook (1777-1867) and has a history of ownership from the Lane family of Boxford, Massachusetts. The table has a variety of construction and layout features, which tie it to his shop. Most importantly, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston has in their collection the identical mate to this table. That table is part of a suite of furniture that was purportedly given as a wedding gift by William Hook to his sister Hannah Hook Folsom in 1808-09. Also within that suite, is a sewing table with many similar attributes including a segmented top that matches the dressing box on this table. It should be noted that the dressing table at the MFA is lacking its dressing box, but bears signs that it was similarly fitted. A third related dressing table was advertised by Charles Lyon in The Magazine Antiques, April 1966. That table includes a dressing box and possesses the same layout but is veneered in mahogany and has water leaf carvings at the tops of the legs. [See attached]
The dressing table has a serpentine shape to the front and sides with blocked corners and outset legs. The conforming mahogany veneered top has a distinctive reel molding that neatly follows the serpentine form. The tops of the outset legs have ring turnings and are bordered by this same reel molding. The top is fitted with a small bowfront cabinet of two short drawers. The top of this cabinet is constructed of segmented mahogany veneers, arranged in radiating wedges around a central demi-lune hub. Each segment is partitioned with contrasting inlaid geometric stringing. The perimeter of this top is also bordered with a neatly fitted reel molding.
The fronts of the drawers and sides of the cabinet are veneered in vigorously grained satinwood or figured birch. These lighter colored panels are set against mahogany or rosewood cross-banded edges. The drawer fronts are fitted with original pressed brass knobs with matching back plates. The interior of each drawer is carefully partitioned with delicate mahogany dividers. The cabinet rests on mahogany ball form feet. The rear feet are held in in place by metal pins that receive the ball feet. Evidence of these pins is also found on the example in the collection of the MFA.
The conforming serpentine apron is also features vibrant “flame” veneer and a cross-banded edge. The perimeter of the cross-banding has two delicate geometric string inlay patterns. The turret-form tops of the legs are cleverly veneered in a vertical fashion to allow the central flare of the flitch to align with the leg. The center of the apron is fitted with a single locking drawer with an oval panel framed within string and cross-banded inlays. The lock and keyhole surround are set horizontally, which is a technique found on the other related examples. The table rests on delicate turned and tapered legs. The legs have ring turnings flanking a long reeded section. These reeds have a distinctive rounded, carved top that is exposed, rather than the more typical fashion of terminating in a ring or band. The table retains a mellow color and a fantastic, even old surface that has craquelure throughout.

Dimensions: Box- height 4 ½; width 11, depth 11; depth with knob 11 ¾”
Table height 31 ¾”; width 35 ¾”, depth 18 7/8”; depth with knob 19 ¾”



Call (781) 828-1650 or E-mail us for questions or pricing on this item. Please reference inventory number 14028.

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