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English Pieces of the Furniture World

Aug 17, 2007
England has a rich collection of antique furniture in its possessions. This is because of its rich historical background. Many of their designs and style were copied and inspired from different countries. Let us have a look at some of the types of tables and from where they got their names.

Butler's Trays
The butler as an extra and movable sideboard used a large oblong tray on a folding X-shaped stand, usually of mahogany. Late eighteenth-century examples are of various types: plain, brassbound at the corners, and with all four sides of the tray hinged to fall flat. Another type has the rimless top hinged across the centre and in one with the base, and the whole article folds up. These are sometimes known as 'coaching tables1.

Cabinets, Cabinets with hinged doors, with or without drawers inside, were made in the later seventeenth century, and much attention was paid to their decoration. They were veneered with rare woods, inlaid with marquetry and embellished with plates of embossed silver. They were placed on stands of turned wood, and later on elaborately carved gilt wood bases. Many lacquered cabinets were imported from the Far East, and placed on similar stands for use in English rooms.

Cabinets on stands did not retain their great popularity in the eighteenth century, but their place was taken by book and china cases with glazed doors. About 1800 low cabinets standing on the ground came into fashion, and many of these had marble tops and the doors were inset with panels of silk or with gilt brass trellis.

Caddies
The caddy owes its name to a Chinese weight, a catty or kali, which equals about one and a third pounds. Much of the tea coming from the East was doubtless packed in amounts of one catty, and the name of the quantity became corrupted into that of the box to hold it. Although tea-caddies were made from different materials, many were of wood and it is proper therefore to mention them under the heading of Furniture. Few, if any, survive from before about 1740, but in 1752 Chippendale showed in his Director designs for a number of them, elaborately shaped and carved. Each succeeding designer influenced the shape, coloring and ornament of the tea caddy, and the immense number of variations in pattern is too numerous to list. Many of them had silver containers inside a wooden outer case, others, had removable wooden boxes. In the nineteenth century it was common to fit them with two boxes, one each for green and black tea, and a glass bowl; the latter described variously as for holding sugar and for blending the teas.

Canterbury
This is the name given to a low open stand with divisions, a drawer beneath and short legs, for holding music. They were made in mahogany from about 1800, and later in rosewood and walnut. No one knows how they got their name, but it is assumed that one was designed in the first instance for an Archbishop of Canterbury. They are very popular nowadays, not always for holding sheet music but for newspapers.

Card Tables
Playing cards were introduced into England in the fifteenth century, and doubtless a special table for use with them followed shortly. None survive before walnut ones made in the reign of William and Mary, with the typical folding tops lined with needlework or cloth. They are rare, but later examples in mahogany survive in large numbers. Almost all are lined with cloth, and many have the inside corners recessed to hold candlesticks; others have oval sunken spaces to hold counters or coins. Late in the eighteenth century card tables were often made in pairs, and examples are found occasionally veneered in satinwood and of half-round shape.
After 1800 they were made on a pillar support with splayed legs and brass-capped toes.

We have seen some of the types of tables and from where they derived their names. It is interesting to know what are the different types of tables and their historical background. The shapes and sizes and the different kinds of woods that were used to make them.
About the Author
Mitch Johnson is a regular writer for http://www.kitchen-plans-n-designs.com/ , http://www.collectablesmadeez.info/ , http://www.bathroomaccessoriesmadeeasy.info/
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