Until 1720, rectangular tea tables were the most common sort, but after that date, round tables with tilting tops (left) became more usual. The hinged top – this one hewed from one gigantic log – was designed to allow the table to be stored in a corner when it was not in use. As guests arrived for tea, the table would be brought to the center of the room where the tea things would be assembled.
This large tea table was originally owned by merchant Daniel Barraud (b.1725) of Norfolk and later Smithfield, Virginia. The table is attributed to Norfolk because of its history and the similarity of its turned shaft to those found on a number of other tables and stands with Norfolk associations.
Founded in 1680, Norfolk supported a large and healthy cabinetmaking community by the third quarter of the 18th century.