A fine, late-17th century oak side table

September 18, 2019 2:39 pm Published by

The plank top with a moulded edge. The frieze with a single, relined drawer with a replaced handle, above a simple, D-moulding. Standing on baluster-turned legs with bun feet, joined by an shaped x-stretcher. Excellent original colour and patina. English, last quarter of the 17th century. 50181056

This piece illustrates late-17th century country, furniture at its best. It is simple, elegant and refined and, over time, the colour and patina have matured to an excellent quality. Few survive of this quality, especially in this originality of condition which is probably due to their utalitarian use. This piece incorporates an x-stretcher and bun feet, features which evolved into the design of late-17th century English furniture, in response to Continental fashions.

There is probably no variety of furniture in which there is a greater diversity of treatment than side tables. After the Restoration small tables with twisted or baluster-turned legs were made in large numbers, as Royalist replenished their denuded homes; ‘a little table with a drawer’ was a common entry in inventories of the time. In some cases there is a drawer in the frieze, and the back stretcher is straight clearly indicating that they were not intended to stand out in a room.

Pepys records that on September 13, 1665, when visiting Sir W. Hickes’s house in Essex, ‘ill furnished and miserably looked after’ the wind blowing into the dining room through an unlatched door, ‘flung down a great bowpot’ (bough-pot for boughs or cut flowers) ‘that stood upon the side-table, and that fell upon some Venice glasses and did him a crown’s worth of hurt.

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This post was written by joecollinson