The cabinetmaker William Hook (1777-1867) arrived in Salem, Massachusetts in 1796. By 1800 he was in business for himself and married Abigail Greenleaf. Hook was apparently very successful, and sold furniture to Salem's leading families including the Derbys (see Fiske Kimball, "Salem Furniture Makers, William Hook" Antiques (April, 1934)pp. 144-146.)
The documented surviving works from Hooks shop demonstrate a clear connection to this delicate dressing table. Foremost among these related works is a sideboard made in 1809 as a wedding gift from Hook to his sister Hannah (Randall, American Furniture in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (Boston, 1965) cat. no. 70). This sideboard has carved water leaves at the tops of the front legs that are unmistakably similar to those of this serving table, and in addition has molded and ribbed edges on the top. If not from Hook's shop, the same carver was undoubtedly employed to produce the fine details of this table. A very closely related serving table with molded and ribbed top and a slightly different carved motif is illustrated by Israel Sack in Antiques vol. CIII no. 3 (March, 1973). Other known examples from Hook's shop with this distinctive carving include a desk and bookcase (Essex Institute), a work table (Randall, cat. no. 100), and a chest of drawers (Sack, vol. 5, p. 1240, P4104). The bill of sale from Ginsburg & Levy, to the father of the current owner, dated 1937, will accompany the lot.