This table is part of a small group of large scale Philadelphia William and Mary dining tables. "Oval tables," as they were called during the period, were widely available in three distinct size ranges, roughly conforming to widths of four, five and six feet with leaves extended. Such tables were important commissions for affluent families in early Pennsylvania, and were often purchased in conjunction with a high chest and dressing table. The largest tables such as the present example are the rarest surviving size, and this rarity is augmented here by the use of mahogany as the primary wood. While mahogany and other imported exotic woods were in use in Philadelphia by the turn of the 18th century, the extravagant cost of mahogany prohibited its widespread usage during this era.
Several tables from this group of large tables are known. Among them is a table with a history in the Penn family, and it is thought that William Penn commissioned it for use at Pennsbury Mansion (see Lindsey, Worldly Goods (Philadelphia, 1999), cat. no. 77). Two additional tables from this group were included in the Worldly Goods exhibition at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, including one dated 1725 (ibid., cat. nos. 78 and 80). Another is illustrated in Miller, American Antique Furniture, Volume II (New York, 1937), no. 1296, catalogued as belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Charles E. Ellicott. Another example is illustrated in Hopkins and Cox, Colonial Furniture of West New Jersey (Haddonfield, 1936), pl. 14. A further table sold at Northeast Auctions, July 31, 1988, lot 275, and two more examples are known in private collections. A unique larger Philadelphia gateleg table is currently in the collection of Primitive Hall Foundation.