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Dining table

New Castle or Odessa, Delaware



Possibly Thomas Janvier (1772–1852)


29 in x 45 in x 20-1/4 in (open, 57-3/4 in)


Mahogany; oak (swing leg rails), hard pine (framing rails), white cedar (corner blocks)

Credit Line

Historic Odessa Foundation, gift of Madelaine L. Reese,

Accession Number



"WM. CORBIT HOUSE / ODESSA DELAWARE 1772” is engraved into a brass plaque attached to the outside rail of one swing leg.

Condition Notes

One of four corner blocks remains, although it has been moved to another corner.  Each of the leaves has warped slightly.


The table descended in the Corbit family to Sara Corbit Curtis and then to her daughter Mary Curtis Crowe, who gave it to her nephew, Peter A. K. Reese (1932–1978), husband of the donor.


Ownership history of this dining or drop-leaf table in the Corbit family introduces the possibility that it was made by one of the Janvier furniture makers.  The table bears all of the careful construction features and materials use characteristic of their work, although that physical evidence does not exclude many other possible makers.  However, Janvier attribution becomes more compelling in light of an otherwise minor detail:  the legs exhibits small "through-cuts" visible at the tops of the reeds from cutting them to shape with a reeding plane (see accompanying image).  These little cuts are not normal–in fact, some observers might consider them sloppy, but given the overall care evident in the construction of this table, they seem to be intentional and not a mere accidental by-product.  More to that point, they occur on the reeded panels of a bowfront chest (acc. no. 1975.35) attributed to Thomas Janvier for completely different reasons.  Another small detail lies in the three stacked rings at the bottom of the reeding.  This rare detail occurs in another Janvier table, probably by Thomas's cousin John Jr. (acc. no. 1968.401).



Zimmerman, A Storied Past, 91-92.