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Tea Table

A work made of mahogany.
CC0 Public Domain Designation

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  • A work made of mahogany.




Artist unknown (American, 18th century)

About this artwork

In the 18th century, Americans delighted in the genteel art of tea drinking, which facilitated socializing based on strict rules of engagement. First introduced to New York in the 1740s, the tilt-top tea table, designed in the service of fashionable domestic tea parties, was a popular form in colonial Philadelphia and New York. The spindled “birdcage” mechanism allowed rotation, which provided the hostess with a measure of gentility by enabling her to spin the table so that she did not have to reach for anything; the table also flipped into a vertical position, permitting efficient storage against a wall. Illustrating the understated Quaker aesthetic present in late-18th-century Philadelphia, this tilt-top tea table was likely used in the parlor or drawing room of a middle- to upper-middle-class home.


On View, Gallery 166


Arts of the Americas


Artist unknown


Tea Table


Philadelphia (Object made in)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.

c. 1750–1790




73.7 × 86.4 × 88.9 cm (29 × 34 5/8 × 35 in.)

Credit Line

Roger and J. Peter McCormick Endowment; purchased with funds provided by Jamee J. and Marshall Field, and Carol W. Wardlaw

Reference Number


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