THE IMPORTANT NARBONNE FAMILY MASSACHUSETTS QUEEN ANNE MAHOGANY DIMINUTIVE TURRET-TOP CARD TABLE, BOSTON-SALEM, 1740-1760.
The hinged top with turret corners above an apron with central drawer flanked by ogee corners, above delicate cabriole legs with ogee returns and ending in pad feet. Height 28 ⅞ inches, width 30 ⅞ inches, depth 14 ⅝ inches.
Provenance: An early label attached to the inside of the drawer bottom is inscribed in ink “Narbonne, 71 Essex Street,” with a later pencil inscription “until at least 1954.”
The Narbonne house, built in 1675 and located at 71 Essex Street, is one of the earliest houses extant in Salem, Massachusetts. The house was purchased in 1780 by Jonathan Andrews (1738-1781) who married Mary Gardner (1739-1820) in 1760. Their daughter, Sarah Andrews (1770-1811) married Matthew Vincent (1764-1821) in 1790 and had a daughter, Sarah Vincent (1795-1890), who married Capt. Nicholas Narbonne in 1823. Their only daughter, Mary A. Narbonne (1824-1905), who was unmarried, lived in the house with her widowed mother, remaining there until her own death in 1905. In 1903, a local newspaper article reported “Miss Mary A. Narbonne, whose home at 71 Essex Street à is of great historic interest and is widely known among antiquarians… She is possessed of considerable wealth and her home is filled with valuable antiques and curios.” Upon her death Mary’s nephew, Gardner H. Narbonne, inherited the house and rented it to Frank Hale, his cousin. In 1948, more than forty years later, Frank Hale purchased the property. In 1958, Frank Hale’s daughter, Margaret, inherited the house and in 1964 sold it to the National Park Service for $17,000.”The card table may have originally been owned by Mary Gardner Andrews’ parents, Capt. Jonathan and Elizabeth Gardner, and may have been a wedding present to her. It remained in the Andrews-Vincent-Narbonne family for over 190 years. Apparently her great granddaughter, Mary A. Narbonne, considered this delicate table an important family heirloom and in the late nineteenth century, protected it with a fringed table scarf. A corner of the table is visible in an early twentieth century photograph of Mary sitting in the parlor of the house. A drawing of the same parlor, showing the table in the same location, is in the collection of Historic New England. The drawing was created as an illustration for “Early New England Interiors; Sketches in Salem, Marblehead, Portsmouth and Kittery” by Arthur Little, published by A. Williams and Company, 1875.