Design attributed to William Buckland (1734 – 1774)
Carving attributed to William Bernard Sears (1732 – 1818)
1761 – 1771
Richmond County, Virginia
Walnut with a marble top
HOA: 34 3/16”, WOA: 44 7/8”, DOA: 28”
MESDA Purchase Fund (acc. 3425)
This table’s creator, carver, and inspiration, as well as its marble top were all imported from England. In 1759, George Mason (1725-1792) of Gunston Hall Plantation in Fairfax County, Virginia, penned an impressive recommendation for the table’s creator. “The within named William Buckland came into Virginia with my brother,” Mason wrote, “who engaged him in London and had a very good Character of him there.” Mason added, “During the time he lived with me, he had the entire Direction of the Carpenter’s & Joiner’s Work of a large House…I can with great Justice recommend him to any Gentleman that may have occasion to employ him…& I think him a complete Master of the Carpenter’s & Joiner’s Business both in Theory & Practice.” In addition to William Buckland, Mason also procured in London a master carver, William Bernard Sears, and brought him to Virginia as an indentured servant.
Within a few years of gaining their freedom and completing Mason’s house at Gunston Hall, Buckland and Sears were engaged by John Tayloe (1721-1779) to construct his new house at Mount Airy Plantation in Richmond County. There, the two craftsmen collaborated on MESDA’s magnificently carved sideboard table adapted directly from plate 38 of Thomas Chippendale’s Gentleman and Cabinetmaker’s Director (London, 1755).