The 7/8 inch thick, oval top is in three sections, with each section made from three, oak planks. The central section has two small fillets at either end, which is an old repair to disguise shrinkage. As is customary, there is some wear in the top from the screws fixing the framework underneath. There is also a little wear on one flap where it joins the rule joint. Five of the six hinges are, almost certainly, original and have some replaced screws, probably in the 19th century. The butterfly hinge is period, but has been replaced at some point in time. The frieze is fitted with a drawer on one side, and the other side is plain. The drawer, almost certainly, retains its original lock and Chinese, Chippendale handle which was broken long ago at the top. The drawer has a small repair to the right, bottom corner, and retains its original oak, drawer linings. The flaps are supported by a gate mechanism, the upper stretcher with a deep, flat section typical of tables from the second quarter of the 18th century. The table stands on elegant, tapering, turned legs, joined by square stretchers. The original toes have, recently, been built-up with blocks to compensate for the loss in height from wear over time. The table has an exceptional, lustrous patina with a deep, rich colour. The carpenter has selected oak with fine, graining which forms part of the decoration and attractiveness of the table, this is particularly noticeable on the drawer front. The repairs and losses are acceptable, and consistent with a table of this type and age. English, second quarter of the 18th century.
Gateleg tables of this size are uncommon and this is a particularly fine, mid-18th century, provincial example . The top of this table has developed an exceptional, deep, lustrous patina which is unusual to find in dining tables. The base has a deeper encrustation which is consistent with it being less exposed and handled less than the top. The overall proportion of the table is solid and elegant, with the thick, top supported by the slender, tapering turnings which balance the overall proportion of the piece.
The ergonomic design of gateleg tables is timeless as they continue to serve as dining, library and centre tables as in the late-17th century when customs changed and families began to dine privately in parlours rather than with the entire household.
This post was written by joecollinson