This table, of Ashford Black Marble work, is inlaid with a floral wreath in hardstones corresponding to patterns first introduced in 1834 by William Adam (d. 1873), who had taken over the management of the Ashford works and Old Royal Museum, Matlock for Mrs. John Mawe in 1831. The works were under the patronage of the 6th Duke of Devonshire (d. 1858), who lent Adam examples of Florentine work from Chatsworth. In 1846, William Adam received praise for introducing the 'Mosaic' or 'Florence work' whose 'scrolls, birds, flowers and foliage of the most elegant designs and perfect workmanship, equal to anything that has ever been executed in Italy'.
Ashford marble is in fact a type of limestone rather than a marble, which when polished turns a deep glossy black. It is produced from only two quarries near Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire. Examples were exhibited in the Great Exhibition of 1851 by Mr. Woodruff, amongst others, who won a Medal for his inlaid tables designed by L. Gruner Esq. Interestingly, a closely related table, displaying the same distinctive knopped and canted base pattern but with a hexagonal wreath-inlaid top, labelled by Woodruff, was sold at Sotheby's Chester, 14 June 1988.