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93/97/1 Occasional table, musk wood (Oleria argophylla) veneer on a cedar (Toona australis) carcase / brass fittings, maker unknown, Tasmania, Australia, c. 1850. Click to enlarge.

Occasional table

This occasional table is one of the few pieces of Australian-made furniture known with any certainty to have been exhibited in the world's first international exhibition. The Great Exhibition of Works of Industry of All Nations, held in London at the Crystal Palace in 1851, was the forerunner of a series of local and international industrial and trade exhibitions held during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Importantly, the Great Exhibition gave the Australian colonies the opportunity …


Object No.


Object Statement

Occasional table, musk wood (Oleria argophylla) veneer on a cedar (Toona australis) carcase / brass fittings, maker unknown, Tasmania, Australia, c. 1850

Physical Description

Circular tilt-top with petal-carved apron, supported on a pedestal of triangular section and a concave triangular platform base with three scrolling feet. The circular top has a radial arrangement of musk wood veneers (eight wedge-shaped segments with matching well-figured grain radiationg from the centre) within a broad border at table edge. The short apron (screwed beneath the table, slightly inset from the edge) features carved petal-like pendant lobes along the lower margin. Four cedar bearers on the underside of the table top lie on either side of a square box at top of the pedestal block and a long handmade steel bolt passes through two of the struts and the box at one end to form the hinge for the tilt-top. The tilt-top is released by means of a spring catch in a hand-made brass mount. The pedestal is triangular in section (with each side slightly concave in profile) and has a petal-carved band (shaped upright lobes spaced between deep tear-shaped hollows) above a rounded moulding at the base. The pedestal rests on a tri-form platform base with concave sides and square cut corners. The table is supported on three carved cedar scrolling feet, each with a smaller scroll terminal under the platform base.


Stamped mark "W CHAMPION" and large number "12" painted in black under the table top; the underside of the base is similarly marked and includes a rectangular paper lable inscribed "No. 12/ Table/ of/ Musk Wood / Champion [...]/ V.W./ [...] (signiature)" secured with four small tacks.



715 mm



Possibly made by Hamilton, Hobart, Tasmania



Exhibited by William Champion in the Great Exhibition, London, 1851
Returned to Tasmania by the Bowden family and remained with Bowden descendents until 1991; sold at auction, Tulloch auction rooms, Launceston, May 1991; private collector/dealer; Manfred Mcintyre, Brisbane.


Credit Line

Purchased 1993

Acquisition Date

15 March 1993

Cite this Object


Occasional table 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 7 December 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title=Occasional table |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=7 December 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}