The leg profile first features on a Robert Adam design of 1767 depicting a sofa for the Library at Kenwood and published in The Works in Architecture of Robert and James Adam, vol.I, no.2, 1774, pl.V (see E. Harris, The Furniture of Robert Adam, 1963, fig.59). As Adam worked with many of London's pre-eminent cabinet-making firms it is difficult to determine with certainty the maker of the tables however they may have been executed by Broad Street cabinet-makers John Mayhew and William Ince. One can refer to the celebrated set of six Gobelins covered chairs and two settees supplied by the firm for the Drawing Room at Croome Court, Worcestershire in 1769 and now in the recreated tapestry room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (see G. Beard, 'Decorators and Furniture Makers at Croome Court', Furniture History, 1993, p.113, fig.8). They also delivered a side table with similar 'turned legs, neatly carved' to Croome as late as 1794 to accomodate an earlier marble top (G. Beard, op.cit., p.111, fig.2). Similar reeded feet appear on furniture supplied for the 4th Duke of Marlborough in circa 1775 (see H.Roberts, '"Nicely Fitted Up": Furniture for the 4th Duke of Marlborough, Furniture History, 1994, p.136, fig.23).
The elegant form of the laurel-wreathed columnar legs, terminating in reeded plinths also features on the lyre-back chairs supplied by Thomas Chippendale to Sir Roland Winn, for Nostell Priory, Yorkshire (C. Gilbert, The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale, London, 1978, vol.II, p.93, fig.151). The Nostell chairs were noted in Chippendale's bill in 1768 as 'To 6 Mahogany Chairs with arms for the library the carving exceeding rich in the antique taste the seats coverd with Green hair Cloth' (O. Brackett, Thomas Chippendale, London, 1925, p.176-177). The tables have batton carrying holes for transport which features on the work of both Mayhew and Chippendale. The neat construction for the pullout leg on a rolling caster is unusual.
The precise leg pattern features on a pair of window benches from Ickworth Abbey, Suffolk (see P. Macquoid and R. Edwards, The Dictionary of English Furniture, 1924, vol.III, p.175, fig.56). The pair would have been commissioned by Frederick Hervey, 4th Earl of Bristol (d.1803), who inherited Ickworth in 1779 and was planning its aggrandisement in the early 1780s although it is not known which cabinet-makers worked at the house. The window benches, whose similarly broad friezes are carved with anthemia and husks, were sold from the collection of Arthur Leidesdorf, Sotheby's, 27-28 June 1974, lot 81. One of the benches was sold, the property of a Lady, Christies 7 July 1988, lot 82.
The tables formed part of the Georgian furniture collection assembled around 1900 by Frederick Behrens at his Mayfair apartment. The collection is featured in a Country Life article of 1925 in which these tables are illustrated ('Late Eighteenth Century Furniture in the collection of Mr. Frederick Behrens', Country Life, p.847, fig.7). Pieces from the Behrens collection, including this pair of tables, also feature in all three editions of The Dictionary of English Furniture (see literature noted above).