“A table can be a centre piece or complement other furniture in any room. The necessity of having tables as a social, or storage space, makes them unique to the furniture category.”
There are many uses for tables, however they all share one thing in common; a surface, typically flat and horizontal. A table can be used to work from or to eat from, these are the two most common uses for a table. With the growth of the computer, the desk variety of a table has become one of the most common fixtures in an office. The dining room table or kitchen table is traditionally one of the most common areas to eat food, with a table providing the surface area to have social occasions of all varieties, such as family gatherings.
A table is an item of furniture made from many different, suitable materials, which has been used worldwide, particularly in the Western world since at least the 7th Century. Most of the early examples of tables consist of a flat slab of stone, metal, wood or glass, supported by legs, pillars or a stone base.
The table structure is a horizontal upper surface used to support objects of interest, for storage or show. The surface must be held stable, and is usually held by support from below by either a base, a column or at least three columnar “stands”.
The common design of a table has evolved over the centuries, but the basic design includes:
The history of the table stretches as far back as the 7th century, (possibly further). The table has seen a huge amount of evolution and development since it was first created thousands of years ago.
Four-legged tables have predominated since ancient Egypt, although Greek and Roman tables were often slab-sided, in the manner of altars. The other main defining characteristic of a table is its height, and this has risen with changes in seating. Tables from ancient Rome were low enough to serve low couches, while more recent types were made higher to accommodate the use of chairs.
The earliest Western tables were simple boards supported on trestles, usually erected when needed for eating. The contemporary so-called trestle table is descended from these but is usually fixed, and its trestles are most typically single fixed standards rather than the collapsible medieval kind. Long, narrow trestle type tablets descended from those used for monastic dining are known as refectory tables.
An equally common medieval type used for dining was made for four legs, connected at their feet by sturdy stretchers. Such early dining tables known as “joined tables” were large and were often furnished with draw-leaves to further increase their capacity. By Tudor times (the 16th century), the legs of these dining tables were often formed with large, bulbous turnings, and eventually rose to single or double pedestal tables.
A parallel development can be seen in the manufacture of tables designed to be situated along or against a wall rather than as the centrepiece of a room. Console tables, pier tables, side tables and hall tables are all examples of this type.
Tables designed and used for specific purposes other than dining include varieties such as artist’s and drafting tables, billiard tables, card tables, communion tables, dressing tables, library tables, coffee table and tea tables.
Many tables are furnished with a variety of drawers, cupboards and shelves. Much to the point that they might often be correctly classified as different types of furniture, such as dressers, sideboards, and desks, sometimes known as writing tables.
Renaissance ideas were entering Britain during the Elizabethan period. Oak was the main wood used for the tables of the time. Strap carving was popular and cut directly into solid timber tables to give a beautiful design.
Elizabethan tables are generally accompanied by bulbous legs, carved from the top and into a gadroon at the bottom with an acathus leaf. Wealth was reflected in the furniture of the time.
Elizabethan table characteristic:
The Georgian period is usually defined as spanning the reigns of the first four Hanoverian kings of Great Britain, who were all named George. The era covers the period from 1714 to 1837 and had a strong influence on different styles of tables for that time. Georgian style embraces a century under the reign of three Georges and is often divided into the Palladian, early and late Georgian periods. The three phases influenced each other, as the Georgian period progressed the style of colours and decoration became lighter and eventually grew into the regency style.
The Georgian style table has many characteristics, including:
Early Georgian colour schemes include burgundy, sage green and blue grey, but as the style developed the colours became lighter and included pea green, sky or wedgwood blue, soft grey, dusky pink and a flat white and stone.
The Regency Period begun when King George III was deemed unfit to rule and so his son, the Prince of Wales ruled as his proxy as Prince Regent. In 1820 the Prince Regent became George IV after the death of his father. The Regency Period made a huge contribution to the development and styles of tables of the time. Popular woods were mahogany, rosewood and ebony.
The Regency style followed the fashion of the time for copying actual furniture of the classical Roman and Greek times. If not identically copied, they were modelled as closely to the classical decoration forms. Furniture, including tables, had moved from natural evolution to return to classical form.
Typical examples from the Regency Period include:
Popular Table Designers from Era include Edward William Godwin, Augustus Welby Northmore Pugin, George Washington Jack, George Edmund Street, Phillip Webbb, Arthur Heygote Mackmurdo.
The Victorian period refers to the era of pieces made during the reign of Queen Victoria (1837 – 1901), a furniture style developed that was characterised by exaggerated curves, dark woods and heavy proportions. The makers of the time drew upon the Gothic form and the Louis XV style to create tables where the legs of dining tables, writing tables and side tables were elaborately carved. Designers include a selection of hand crafted items by famous designers of the time, such as Merklen Brother, John Henry Belter and Alexander Roux, and mass produced pieces.
Although some designers put stamps and labels on most of their furniture, many did not, so attributing a Victorian piece conclusively requires lots of research. A general rule of thumb is that rosewood was considered superior to walnut, and was used on higher end tables and other furniture.
There are many different Victorian styles from the era:
Dining tables from the Victorian era are generally long table tops with four legs. Some are circular with a pedestal. The aim of these long Victorian dining tables was to accommodate several people during meal times. The majority of these dining tables are made from dark woods.
Victorian writing tables feature drawers directly beneath the table top and four reeded leg capped with casters. The surface of the table may be lined with leather. Writing tables are genuinely great decorative pieces, which are often used as the centre piece of a room, used to display items and can be used in the office.
Drawing tables from the Victorian period, feature a rectangular board with rounded corners, usually mounted on an adjustable stand with four legs. The adjustable stand is usually made from cast-iron and makes detailed drawings easier on a tilted board, an adjustable tilt also meets your comfort zone.
Victorian bedside tables are box shaped, featuring a flat top and a drawer beneath it. Some also feature a door that swings open to reveal a compartment. Large compartment and flat surface can hold items.
Coffee tables from the era usually are a circular shape with carved, short legs. The legs are connected with patterned wood pieces, and the surface is flat for holding drinks with space underneath.
Game tables from the Victorian era feature a flat surface on top of a pedestal. The surface may contain a game board design or it may swivel.
Side Tables from the Victorian period are generally of a rectangular shape, with drawers featured beneath the table top. The drawer knobs and legs are usually turned.
Arts and Crafts is a movement that was made up of English designers and writers who wanted to return to well-made, handcrafted tables instead of regular tables of the time that were often mass-produced, poor quality and machine-made.
The movement was inspired socialist principles, and members of the movement set up their own companies to sell their goods. However, the items were too expensive and apart from the wealthy classes, barely anyone could afford their unique designs.
When buying a table from the Arts and Crafts period, look for a wooden or handmade style table. Oak was the most commonly used wood, and pieces were often accompanied by cut-outs of upside down hearts, a copper finish and leather straps.
Other characteristics of Arts and Crafts Tables, include:
Art Nouveau is often considered to be the first modern 20th century style. It was the first style to stop looking at history for inspiration and ideas, and instead from what it saw around it, in particular the natural world.
Art Nouveau was first showcased in Paris, and then in London which received an outraged welcome as people either loved or hated it. Within the style itself there were a number of distinct looks which were mainly curvy lines. The more austere, linear looks were formed by artists, such as Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Some aspects of art nouveau were revived again in the 1960s.
Other elements especially with regards to tables associated with the style of the Art Nouveau period were the sinuous, elongated and curvy lines, the whiplash line, vertical lines and height, stylised flowers, leaves, roots, buds and seedpods, the female form and generally made from exotic woods, marquetry, iridescent glass, silver and semi-precious stones.
The main influences from the period were arts and crafts, rococo style and botanical research. Art Nouveau shares the same belief in quality goods and fine craftsmanship although mass production was of a higher standard.
The Edwardian era saw the beginning of the new century with King Edward VI. King Edward VI had a major influence on the furniture from his era, particularly tables.
On first appearances, early Edwardian interior design does not appear too different to Victorian styles, but as the era progressed there were huge differences in furniture, decoration and style. There was a gradual disappearance of the familiar ‘Victorian clutter’, of surfaces crowded with bric-a-bac and the rooms crammed with furniture for the emergence of a simple, straighter forward arrangement. Along with this went the gradual flattering of the appearance of walls and ceilings with a lightening of colour schemes. The heavy, dark cluttered look of the Victorian era was gone, and something much lighter and cheerful to its place was the Edwardian era.
The Edwardian style has an eclectic feel to it which draws from elements of earlier Georgian, Medieval and Tudor styles. Light, airy and simplicity of details were key principals of this era. Colours were fresher during the Victorian era; pastel blues, lilacs, leaf green, muted yellows and pearl greys to name a few. Floral fabrics and wallpaper were complemented by the liberal use of fresh flowers in informal arrangements. Along with Sheraton, Chippendale, Queen Anne and even Baroque reproduction furniture, wicker and bamboo began to be widely used in Edwardian Style of interiors.
Art Nouveau added a modern, original flavour to the historicism of the Edwardian period. Inspired directly from nature, Art Nouveau designers adorned a vast array of ordinary household objects with stylised flowers, vines, leaves, birds and dragonflies.
Edwardian colour was perhaps the greatest shift away from Victorian interiors, colours were fresh and light, with an informal feel. Patterns were arguably more feminine, with flowers and floral designs highly favoured. Colours were predominantly pastels: blue, lilacs, greens, yellows, and greys. Living rooms often took darker colours such as dark green for fabrics, complemented with cream walls. Colour schemes were lighter with doors, skirtings, ceilings, panelling and picture rails were often painted using the new bright white enamel paint. Colours were softer, carrying on the trends from the Arts and Crafts movement.
The Art Deco period began in the early 20th century and combined many aspects of many other artistic movements, such as Neoclassicism and Art Nouveau (see below). Art Deco is certainly one of the most popular and long-lasting movements in the history of design. Its influence extends beyond tables to other furniture, architecture, fashion, interior design, automobiles and jewellery the movement has inspired many contemporary modern day furniture designs.
Its popularity peaked in the 1920’s and 1930’s as the world recovered from World War 1, and the table designs often reflected the optimism of post-war society with the use of vivid colours and playful motifs. Art Deco with its distinctive style is one of the most recognisable design movements.
The Art Deco movement arose in the early 20th Century in Paris. A number of factors influenced the movement, for example the end of the war. Post-war society at this time had been full of optimism for the future and designers used their pieces to reflect this. Art Deco tables can be recognised by their vibrant and playful style, representing an Avant Garde way of thinking.
There was a variety of materials used in Art Deco design, including wood, marble, metal, plastic, lacquer and animal skin. The exotic woods often used, such as teak and ebony, showed the growing modern transportation methods of the time. Marble was often used by Art Deco designers, which had mainly been used in buildings for centuries before, especially for their cabinets and table tops. During the height of the Art Deco period polished metal was highly sought-after in the furnishings, jewellery, architecture and fashions of the time. Due to improvements in steel-making, the incorporation of metals into such designs was made possible. A cost effective option compared to the exotic imports of ebony, was lacquer. The deep colour and shine from polished and lacquered pieces offered a similar effect to ebony at a much lower price. With the decreased cost of importation, furniture was able to be upholstered using exotic animal hides and furs became increasingly popular in both interior design and fashion.
Tables are often considered archetypal examples of Art Deco furnishings.
3637 items available.
Oak Table with Drawer. One end drawer lining has been removed and left fixed with drop handles to match the other end drawer. Apron height is 59cm.
Offered for sale is this early 19th Century George III antique mahogany tilt top breakfast table.
Pair of Painted Carved Walnut Consoles with Carrera Marble Tops. Measurements are slightly different for both consoles.
Good late 19th century Elm farm house table from the Normandy area of France dating to around the 1880's
Will comfortably seat 8 people, having been through our workshops cleaned ...
This is a fab early 20th century oak refectory table, great colour and patina .
Dating to around the 1920's and constructed from solid oak. This piece has been through our ...
French Art Deco Glass and Brass Nest of Tables
This is a very stylish good-looking set of tables, they have bevelled glass table tops set on Black and Brass coloured metal ...
A splendid George I design burr walnut card table. Dating from the late 19th century. Well constructed in solid walnut with attractive burr walnut veneers. The shaped top is cross ...
Mahogany Parquetry Occasional Table. Inset with ebony and yew. Some restoration to the top.
A splendid mid-Victorian period mahogany serpentine fronted console, or hall table. Of very good construction and with a single drawer to the freeze. With scrolling cabriole front legs , united ...
Antique French Extending Dining Table
A French Farmhouse table in oak. Featuring a large Parquetry top, carved legs with ball feet and and oak stretcher. The sleeves pull out easily for ...
A rustic 19th-century Indian ox cart that has been made into a coffee table.
Antique French Extending Dining Table
A French Farmhouse table in golden oak. Featuring a large Parquetry top, slight serpentine outer edge and carved cabriole legs. The sleeves pull out easily for ...
A late 19th-century English Rushbrook Albion antique butcher's block offered for sale.
Antique elm coffee table
This Antique elm coffee table was made circa 1870
The coffee table is made of solid elm and is of the very desirable pale colour.
The top is ...
This is a mid Victorian pine and walnut press table with original knobs, probably for books rather than linen.
Offered for sale is this pair of antique marble top console tables
Dating from 1860, shaped sienna marble tops, the mahogany tables having single draw to the front with turned knobs, ...
Here we have an Antique reclaimed pine side table
· Single drawer with hand cut dovetail joints
· Working lock and key
Here we have an Antique Edwardian inlaid side table
· Decorative sunburst inlay to centre and side supports
· 2 tiers with carved supports
· Terminated on brass castors
Here we have an Antique serpentine front sideboard - hall table
· 3 drawers with fine hand cut dovetail joints
· Tapered legs
This is an exceptional quality table produced in solid Yew and inlaid in burr Yew with boxwood and ebony stringing, the central ball is a solid turned burr, the table ...
Antique Edwardian mahogany Sutherland table, the moulded top with canted corners upon bobbin turned supports & small castors.
Dimensions: 63cm x 13cm . 80cm when extended x 61cm high.
This elegant Georgian Antique Mahogany Side Table / Pedestal Lamp Table / Work Table has a figured top above two oak lined drawers with moulded edges and small brass handles. ...
This Spectacular Quality Inlaid Mahogany Antique Centre Table / Lamp Table is truly stunning. It has a Hexagonal moulded top with satinwood cross banding, ebony and boxwood string inlay along ...
Victorian Mahogany Extending Dining Table.
Having Fluted Ring Turned Legs with a Carved upper section and Brass Castors.
The top of the table having double moldings and extends to take two extra ...
Superb Pair of Painted and Gilded Chippendale Style Console Tables.
Each Table Standing on Swept Legs with Stylised Ball and Claw Feet.
The Frieze of the Tables Featuring Carved Leaves and a ...
Elegant Mahogany Console Table of Serpentine Form. Having pretty tapered legs and one central Mahogany lined drawer. The top of the table features book matched veneers with Mahogany crossbanding.
Single pedestal oak extending table with mahogany cross banded top. Seats 8-10.
good quality Georgian mahogany table with pie crust shaped tilt top and raised on a column support with tripod base.
normal marks / scuffs commensurate with age and use and an ...
A matched pair of oak side tables attributed to Liberty’s, each of rectangular form with four turned legs and two shelves, the ends enclosed with turned lattice work. English.
A decorative pair of 19th Century French painted console tables, having the original white marble tops above a frieze with raised gilt decoration, a mahogany lined drawer at the centre ...
Sign upfor email alerts -Get all the latest antiquessent directly to you