Exquisitely decorated with ornament in exotic woods, this pair of card tables is a particularly elaborate and rare survival of New York Classical furniture. Elements of the tables' form, design and inlay indicate that their maker was influenced by the city's leading cabinetmakers of the era, Duncan Phyfe (1770-1854) and Charles Honoré Lannuier (1779-1819). With canted corners, composite turned supports, similarly shaped bases and closely related legs, this pair resembles a card table made by Phyfe for James Lefferts Brinckerhoff (1791-1846) in 1816. Furthermore, the anthemion-and-leafy scroll tablets at the center of each front rail, possibly supplied by a specialist craftsman, are similar to tables rendedered in gilded brass that adorn a couch and sofa made by Phyfe for Robert Donaldson (1800-1872) a decade later. The maker of these tables may also have been influenced by the work of Lannuier, who frequently embellished his card tables with brass-inlaid stars (Peter M. Kenny and Michael K. Brown, Duncan Phyfe: Master Cabinetmaker in New York (New York, 2011), pp. 80, 131, 212, figs. 81, 165, pl. 35; Peter M. Kenny, Frances F. Bretter and Ulrich Leben, Honor Lannuier: Cabinetmaker from Paris (New York, 1998), pp. 58, 158-161, 210-211, pls. 22, 73, 78, cats. 72-77; see also Christie's, 18-19 January 2001, lot 113). Another table with only minor differences in the arrangement of inlaid motifs survives almost certainly represents the work of the same craftsman (Bernard & S. Dean Levy, Inc., item no. 6418). Possible makers include Michael Allison (1773-1855), whose label appears on a Pembroke table closely related to Phyfe's tables made for Brinckerhoff. As seen on the pair offered here, the turned supports of Allison's table feature baluster turnings rather than the slightly flared columns employed by Phyfe (Kenny and Brown, p. 80, fig. 82).
Exhibited by Leigh Keno at the 1995 Philadelphia Antiques Show, these tables were displayed either side of the desk-and-bookcase in lot 30 and all three items were purchased by Jack Warner moments after the show's opening (Leigh Keno, Leslie Keno and Joan Barzilay Freund, Hidden Treasures: Searching for Masterpieces of American Furniture (2002), p. 166).