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Game Table, Philadelphia, PA. c. 1760

Made in 1/12th scale by Wm. R. Robertson & Esther R. Robertson, 1982


Inspired by a 1980’s ad in The Magazine Antiques, Robertson decided to make a pair of these 18th Century, Philadelphia needlepoint topped game tables. He carved and turned the tripod base from pear wood. In the middle of carving, he drove to the Philadelphia Museum of Art to study examples of original ball and claw feet. The table tilts and turns on a locking birdcage supported by balusters. It also has a layer of surgical stainless steel imbedded in the top to prevent warping.


Esther R. Robertson, Bill’s mother, did the 60-count needlepoint in silk with 41 colors and 33,000 stitches. The center part was inspired by a chart from an Italian magazine. The flowered border was her design. The background color was quite a challenge. She stitched a section and then took out her work 3 times (note: it is much harder to take stitches out than put them in) because it was either too much color, too bright or too dark. A no-color neutral was needed. After much frustration she tossed the unfinished needlepoint on her work table where it landed on a paper bag. Seeing through the silk mesh exposed the perfect color—paper bag brown. She torn off a piece of the bag and headed for the store to match the color in silk thread.

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