Drawtable Of Elm And

Sizes (closed) 7 ft. long by 2 ft. 9! ins. deep by 2 ft. 9 ins. high.

has the Tudor rose pierced and carved, and the fifth suggests that this table cannot be earlier than the first years of the sixteenth century. It is of unusually high quality, both in design and cutting, which is also some indication that it is early in the century.

Fig. 131 is the secular version of the same form of table, of rougher make and later date. The oak front is cut from the log without quartering, a sure indication of the decline in power of the early Guilds,—-whose officials inspected all timber before use, up to the first years of the sixteenth century,—and a date, subsequent to the dissolution of the Monasteries. The central door here is of doubtful authenticity ; it has the appearance of a later endeavour to make use of the space behind the front as a cupboard. The usual form was to hinge the. tops of tables of this kind with large pins pierced through massive end-clamps or battens under the top into the sides. On these pins the top op2ned in the manner of the thirteenth-century' chests.

\\ ith the introduction of the. table formed by framings tenoned into the upper squares of turned legs and with bracing stretchers below, we are on firmer ground. Turning is a much older art in the history of English woodworking than its appearance in tables would suggest. Primitive methods probably caused it to be abandoned in favour of the square-section, either plain, or with carving. It is rare to find tables with

Early Oak Carving

Fig. 136. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1630-40. Earl Stonham Church, Suffolk.

Fig. 136. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1630-40. Earl Stonham Church, Suffolk.

turned legs of date prior to the last quarter of the sixteenth century ; in fact, if they were made, none seem to have survived.

Turned table-legs admit of a somewhat definite classification, due allowance being made for inevitable overlapping of types. Thus, the bulbous-leg begins about 1575, or possibly somewhat later, and persists, in modified form, until about 1645-50. Fig. 132 is the early type, and Fig. 141 the last phase of this manner. The leg in the form of a column, generally with astragal collars, commences somewhat later, about 1590, and lasts until the end of the seventeenth century, if we may include tables inlaid with marqueterie in this category. The vase-turned leg comes into vogue just prior to the Commonwealth and carries us into the early years of the eighteenth century, running parallel, for a part of this period, with the cabriole form. The twist or spiral turning is much more confined in period than the other patterns just referred to. It is doubtful if it was used for the legs of tables prior to the Restoration, and it is rare to find it on pieces of the eighteenth century, with the exception of the square cabinets on spiral-turned stands which were made until the close of the reign of William III, if not the opening years of Anne.

There is still one type of turning, a representation of a number of bobbins strung together, which belongs to the middle of the seventeenth century—from about 1640 to 1665 and is rarely found on pieces other than chairs or tables of oak or fruit-wood,

Fig. 137. OAK DRAW-TABLE.

Length (closed), 10 ft. 8 ins. ; height, 2 ft. 8 ins. ; depth, 3 ft. 1 in.

Date about 1670. Lord Cranworth.

Fig. 137. OAK DRAW-TABLE.

Length (closed), 10 ft. 8 ins. ; height, 2 ft. 8 ins. ; depth, 3 ft. 1 in.

Date about 1670. Lord Cranworth.

Primitive 1700s Table Oak Tudor Legs

Fig. 138. OAK TABLE.

5 it. 5 ins. long by 2 ft. ii ins. deep by 2 ft. S ins. high.

Date about 1630. Formerly in Sutton Courtenay Church.

1 10

Fig. 138. OAK TABLE.

5 it. 5 ins. long by 2 ft. ii ins. deep by 2 ft. S ins. high.

Date about 1630. Formerly in Sutton Courtenay Church.

1 10

• -apple, pear, cherry, and sometimes yew. The leg turned in the form of an inverted cup with a downward tapering shaft below, on the other hand, is nearly always found on furniture of walnut; rarely of oak. We are, therefore, not concerned with this pattern at present. The twisted leg is both an oak and a walnut type, being found almost as frequently in the former wood as in the latter.

We have, therefore, five distinct patterns of leg-turning during the period from about 1575 to 16S9. These are, with the

The Bulb .

The Column

The Bobbin

The Spiral or Twist .

The Vase .

1575-1^50 1590-1700 1640-16C5 1660-1703 1645-1710

To this may be added the inverted-cup turning, for the sake of completing the series,

Inverted Cup Leg

with a period of from 1689 to 1705, running parallel with the shaped or cabriole leg, in its various forms, for about the last seven of these years.

It is proposed to follow the order of type-development rather than that of chronological progression, in this as in other chapters, as being more, illuminating, although it may involve periodical returns to a starting-point. The advantages of being able to compare the same form at different stages in its development, however, far outweigh any draw backs such as the one just referred to.

Following the order outlined above, in this progression of oak tables with turned legs, we may commence with the bulb, that turning feature which enjoyed such favour, and for so long. It is used for the legs of chairs as well as those of tables (although in an attenuated form, as one would expect in the case of a chair), and for the posts of important pieces. It is a Stuart rather than a Tudor form, although it undoubtedly originated in Tudor times. Bulbous legs of the sixteenth century are rare, however, and they may be characterised by possessing a richness of carving which is unusual in the early years of the next century. One of the finest examples of a Tudor table with bulb legs is the one in the Vicars' Hall, Exeter, illustrated here in Fig. 132. The history

Fig. 139. OAK TABLE.

11 ft. il ins. long by i ft. S ins. deep by z ft. 8J ins. high; 4 ins. deep Iraming ; 4$ ins. legs.

Mid-seventeenth century. The Earl of Essex.

of the Hall of the Vicars' Choral has already been given in pages 271, 277, 278 and 279 of the preceding volume. At what period, and under which Bishop this table came into the Vicars' Hall is not clear, but that it has not been highly esteemed is evident. The top, with its Victorian carved thumb-moulding, and the cappings to the stretcher railings, of the same period, are ignorant additions. The original top was, probably, one of square-edged boards. There are no signs of the runners, or " lopers " which would indicate a draw-top table. The ogival frieze and the massive legs are carved in the rich manner of the later period of Elizabeth, with a strong suggestion of Devonshire work at this date. The stretcher-rails are much worn, which may have suggested the addition of the moulded capping rails, but the other parts are in a fine state of preservation.

The moulding of the under-framing of these bulb-leg tables appears to be typical both of Devonshire and the last years of the sixteenth century. Fig. 133, the present altar table in Pilton Church, N Devon, has a carved cushion frieze. The stretcher railing has disappeared, and the table has been raised by the additions of turned vases under the original legs. The carving is not so rich as on the Vicars' Hall example, nor is the entire design as fine. This is a typical draw-table of a very early date for this form of extending top.

Fig. 140. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1640-50. Stonham Aspal Church, Suffolk.

11 2

Fig. 140. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1640-50. Stonham Aspal Church, Suffolk.

11 2

Fig- 141. OAK TABLE.

3 ft. C ins. long by 2 ft. deep by 2 ft. 4 ins. high.

Date about 1640-50. H. Clifford smith, Esq.

It is curious to note how a comparison of many of these tables, now in use in ('Lurches, leads to the supposition that, although made for secular use in practically every instance, they have nearly all remained in their own county of origin. Thus the example from Ruckinge Church, Fig. 134, is typical not only of Kent, but of the Romney Marsh district. Kent is a puzzling county to the student of English furniture, especially in the case of early oak. We find the London fashions perpetuated in the towns and villages in the line from London, through Eltham, possibly Sidcup, certainly Dartford and so on to Gravesend and Rochester. There is another style evident which may have had its fountain-head at Canterbury or Ashford,- probably the former. The Ruckinge table is of this type. Yet a third manner, markedly influenced from French sources, is to be met with in the neighbourhood of Hythe, extending from thence over the Sussex border into Rye, Pevensey and Hastings.

Fig- 141. OAK TABLE.

3 ft. C ins. long by 2 ft. deep by 2 ft. 4 ins. high.

Date about 1640-50. H. Clifford smith, Esq.

This Ruckinge altar table has been painted or grained—the work is so old that it is difficult to distinguish between the two—and the wood appears to be walnut ; it is certainly not oak. Originally a draw-table, the signs of three runners, or " lopers," can be seen at each end, the slots being visible, externally, at the end not seen in the illustration, but on the other they have been covered by the facing of the frieze. This facing is now so worm-eaten that it has the hollow sound, when tapped with the point of the finger, of embossed paper, yet, although much altered, it is original. The top is a later addition, and the lower squares of the legs, with the stretcher-railing, are largely restored, if not entirely replaced by subsequent work.

The bulb-turning of the seventeenth century is generally more loosely designed than is the case with the work of the sixteenth. A comparison between the next example, Fig. 135, and the Vicars' Hall table will show this distinction more clearly than it can be expressed in words. Both examples arc equally fine of their kind, but there is a difference not only of district but also of date. One is unmistakably Tudor, the other

Fig. 142. OAK TABLE.

6 ft. 6i ins. long by 2 ft. 61 ins. deep by 2 ft. 4I ins. high.

Date about 1650-60. J. Dupuis Cobbold, Esq.

I 14

Fig. 142. OAK TABLE.

6 ft. 6i ins. long by 2 ft. 61 ins. deep by 2 ft. 4I ins. high.

Date about 1650-60. J. Dupuis Cobbold, Esq.

I 14

Fig. 143. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1640-50. Albert Cubitt, Esq.

Fig. 143. OAK TABLE.

Date about 1640-50. Albert Cubitt, Esq.

equally as unquestionably early Stuart. The use of elm and ash, in combination, at this date suggests Cumberland or Westmorland, as it is rare, in the south, to find ash of the size in which it is used here, and it is very exceptional to find it at all in tables from East Anglia, until almost the close of the seventeenth century. The notching of the stretcher-framing over the squares of the legs is later work, evidently a restoration at a subsequent period. Additional evidence for this northern origin can be found

Fig. 144. OAK TABLE.

9 ft. 2 ins. long by 2 ft. 9 ins. deep by 2 ft. 7 ins. high.

Date about 1640-50. Victoria and Albert Museum.

Fig. 144. OAK TABLE.

9 ft. 2 ins. long by 2 ft. 9 ins. deep by 2 ft. 7 ins. high.

Date about 1640-50. Victoria and Albert Museum.

"5

f in the pattern of the carving of the framing. The date, 1630, is carved on the upper square of the left-hand leg in the illustration.

The ordinances forbidding the use of elaborate altars in churches, which were reiterated on several occasions during the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, led to the use of secular tables as altars. It will be found, in nearly every church throughout England, that where simple altar tables have been specifically made as such, they are nearly all of modern construction. In the larger number of instances the secular tables of the time are used, generally altered or modified,- often raised in height,-with loss to their original integrity. These alterations or additions, in nearly all cases, however, have been made so frankly, with no attempt at deception, that there is no difficulty in differentiating the original from the subsequent work. Thus the oak table in Earl Stonham Church is, obviously, a larger one cut down, with extension brackets added and the stretcher-railing of late work. It will be wiser, in nearlv every example

Fig. 145. OAK TABLE.

S ft. long by z ft. 5 ins. deep by 3 ft. high. Date about 1590.

Fig. 145. OAK TABLE.

S ft. long by z ft. 5 ins. deep by 3 ft. high. Date about 1590.

Cathedral Church of bt. Michael's, Coventry.

T l6

of these church tables, to consider them as specimens of the bulbous-leg turning and decoration of their period, and to ignore the remainder of the table entirely7. In this example from Earl Stonham the bulb-legs, with the graceful vase form of the lower section, are in the finest East Anglian manner of the first half of the seventeenth century.

This tapered bulb is one of the few details in leg-turning which appear to have been confined, exclusively, to Norfolk and Suffolk. The Earl Stonham table is an early example of the form, the legs here being carved, whereas, towards the end of the seventeenth century, carving was nearly always omitted, decorative use being made of rings either of simple bead or astragal section. At this date, also, the bold hollow dividing the leg into two unequal portions is generally dispensed with. This later type, in its most elaborate form, strongly suggestive of Dutch influences, has already been shown

Fig. 146. OAK DRAW-TABLE.

7 ft. i in. long by 2 ft. gf ins. wide by z ft. 5J ins. high.

Date about 1605-10. St. Mary's Hall, Coventry.

Fig. 146. OAK DRAW-TABLE.

7 ft. i in. long by 2 ft. gf ins. wide by z ft. 5J ins. high.

Date about 1605-10. St. Mary's Hall, Coventry.

in the open buffet, Fig. iii of the preceding chapter. The fine draw-table from Grundis-burgh, Fig. 137, is the typical East Anglian version of this tapered vase leg, which may, possibly, have been inspired by the Chinese pottery forms which had begun to find their way into England at this date, from the Dutch merchants trading in the East. The frieze of this table is inlaid with a herring-bone pattern of a lighter wood, below which is a carved band of thumb-section. The turned legs are of admirably restraine d form, with simple Ionic caps above. The table has the dignity which is characteristic of East Anglian work of the later years of the seventeenth century.

Sutton Courtenay Church possessed a complete unaltered table, Fig. 13S, with the exception of some replacement of the stretcher-framing. There is a curious admixture of vigour and crudeness in the fashioning of the octagonal-sectioned legs which may be taken as indicative of Berkshire and Buckinghamshire tables of this period. This oak table has the fine dull metallic sheen which original early' oak possesses when it has not been varnished, either originally or subsequently. It has also the peculiar high lights (or rather half-lights) on the exposed edges and angles, which the forger of antique

Fig. 147. OAK TABLE.

5 ft. 6 ins. long by 2 ft. 3 ins. deep by 3 ft. 3 ins. high.

Date about 1610-20. St. Michael's Church, St. Albans.

1 iS

Fig. 147. OAK TABLE.

5 ft. 6 ins. long by 2 ft. 3 ins. deep by 3 ft. 3 ins. high.

Date about 1610-20. St. Michael's Church, St. Albans.

1 iS

furniture always fails to reproduce, in nearly every instance exaggerating this effect in a manner which an expert eye can detect at a glance.

It is towards the middle of the seventeenth century, when the desire for ornament was more subdued, that these bulb-leg tables became refined. In obedience to the law before mentioned, construction and details became lighter, with the bulb attenuated, but more graceful in outline. There is no longer the great mass of timber dwindling down to a mere spindle at the top and bottom, as in the table in the Vicars' Hall at Exeter, for example. The long table from Cassiobury Park, Fig. 139, shows this refined mid-seventeenth-century manner very well. There is the thin top) of this period, in long narrow boards with small end clamps, the fluted frifle with shallow brackets at the junction of the framings with the squares of the legs, and the plain stretcher-railing

Fig. 148. OAK TABLE.

5 ft. 9 ins. long by 2 ft. 1 in. deep bj 2 ft. 10 ins. high.

Date about 1G20. Christchurch Priory.

1 19

Fig. 148. OAK TABLE.

5 ft. 9 ins. long by 2 ft. 1 in. deep bj 2 ft. 10 ins. high.

Date about 1G20. Christchurch Priory.

1 19

flush with the fronts of the lower squares, all details of the .1640-50 period and of the Home Counties.

Stonham Aspal altar table, Fig. 140, is of about the same date, but is the East Anglian version of the manner of the Cassiobury table. The bulbs are somewhat attenuated, as compared with those of earlier date, and the legs have the Ionic capitals as at Earl Stonham and Grundisburgh, but the ornament is everywhere more restrained. This table, in common with nearly all others in churches, has suffered from repairs and additions.

It is impossible to account for the close similarity between many of these oak tables of the middle seventeenth century other than in the hypothesis that they originate from nearhT the same district. Even if the Home County origin of the table from Cassiobury were disputed, it must be admitted that Fig. 141 is from the same locality, whatever that may be. Here we have the same bulb, turned from the square-thickness without the paring down, above and below, which we find in the tables of the East, West and Southern Counties of England. There is the same flat bracketting of the frieze rails, at their junctions with the leg-squares, in both cases. The small table shown here has its stools to correspond, which are made so that they will fit, laterally, between the table legs. There is the prevalence of a long-existing fashion evident in its design and proportions. This is a type which has evolved, through many

OAK TABLE.

19 ft. S ins. long by 2 ft. iol ins. deep by 2~ft. 9 ins. high.

Date about 1620. The Earl of Chesterfield.

I 20

OAK TABLE.

19 ft. S ins. long by 2 ft. iol ins. deep by 2~ft. 9 ins. high.

Date about 1620. The Earl of Chesterfield.

I 20

intermediate stages. The table from Holywells, Fig. 142, is more ornate, and somewhat later in date, but not in development. Here the turning is cruder, as if it were fashioned by hand, and the general appearance is somewhat marred by the capping to the stretcher-rails. This table exhibits strong Dutch influence, and may be actually of foreign make.

The attenuated bulb develops by a gradual cutting away of its lower extremity, until it assumes, first, the appearance of an inverted vase, and from this to the cup-and-shaft turning of the Orange period is only a step further in development. This evolution can be traced, in its inception, in the long table, Fig. 143, and in the next example, Fig. 144, the beginning of the cup-turned leg can be seen quite clearly. The first has the frieze-rail carried over the square of the central leg,- -generally7 a Yorkshire or Lancashire device, but sometimes found also in East Anglia,—whereas in the latter this rail is tenoned into the squares, in the centre as well as the ends. It has the bracket-finish of Figs. 139 and 141, but this bracket is not so flat, and is distinct from the frieze rail,

Fig. 150. OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE.

The playing end. 23 ft. 7 ins. long by 3 ft. ii ins. wide by 3 ft. ij ins. high.

Date about 1620. Astley Hall, Chorley, Lanes.

Fig. 150. OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE.

The playing end. 23 ft. 7 ins. long by 3 ft. ii ins. wide by 3 ft. ij ins. high.

Date about 1620. Astley Hall, Chorley, Lanes.

details indicative of Norfolk or Lincolnshire rather than the counties further south. That this table came from Kiddal Hall, in Yorkshire, does not necessarily imply that it had its origin in that county.

To consider the column form of table-leg turning it is necessary to retrace our steps and to commence with the sixteenth century again.

Fig. 145 is a remarkable table in the Drapers' Chapel of St. Michael's Church, Coventry, which might, at first glance, be referred to a foreign source. A close examination of the details, especially of the gadrooning of the top framing and its arcading under, will show that this table must be classed with many of the elaborate four-post bedsteads of the time, the English origin of which is unquestionable. There is also strong presumptive evidence that this table is of Warwickshire make, as there are two other examples, obviously* from the same hand, but in varying stages of addition, restoration or dilapidation, one on the altar, the other in Trinity Church, all of different sizes, and supported on stages of later date to serve as altar tables. The three are identical in essential details. That they were all three imported is doubtful ; it is more

Fig 151.

THE OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIG. 150.

The box end.

Fig 151.

THE OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIG. 150.

The box end.

Fig 152.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

1 23

wmmmm

Fig. 156.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

Fig. 158.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

SECTIONS OF FRIEZE OF OAK SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIGS. 150 AND 151.

THE TOP OF THE SHUFFLEBOARD TABLE, FIG. 150, ILLUSTRATED HERE IN TWO SECTIONS

Showing the parqueterie'eonstruction, and box at the end.

stage.

Towards the closing years of the sixteenth century and during the early part of the reign of James I, both tables and chairs were usually much more richly ornamented than at a later date. It is safe in almost every instance to state that elaborately carved tables

oak table.

Date about 1620.

probable to suppose that a renowned maker existed in Coventry itself, who was commissioned to make these tables. They are rich, even barbaric, in character, and there is little, if any, of the Gothic influence in their design. They are, in fact, tables of the secular type, and the raising on extra supports must imply that they were not specifically made for Church use.

The top, in this example, is of oak, in five sections, dropped into a rebate in the framing. This has the appearance of a later addition. Originally, the top may have been of marble, onyx or alabaster, which has broken and disappeared. Alabaster was a favourite material for many of the sculptured tombs at this period. It is possible that an important piece, such as this table must have been, was made with a top of this material, especially as with one of wood it would have not been necessary- to have sunk the top in a rebate at all.

The importance of this example cannot be over-estimated. It is so usual to refer oak tables of unquestionably seventeenth-century date, to the reign of Elizabeth, that to have a specimen which cannot be later than about 1590, and the English origin of which is almost beyond dispute, is to have a guide in estimating the age of examples to be illustrated at a later

oak table.

Date about 1620.

are of early period, although after the Restoration there was a brief revival of this rich oak furniture, until walnut became the favourite wood instead of the national oak. The magnificent draw-table from St. Mary's Hall at Coventry, Fig. 146, may be taken as the height of this exuberant early Stuart fashion of the carved columnar leg on a square base. It has also the great advantage of being in its original state throughout, with nothing missing, beyond the wearing of the bases which has brought the stretcher-

Fig. 163. OAK BOX TABLE.

First half of the seventeenth century. Messrs. Gregory and Co. 128

Fig. 163. OAK BOX TABLE.

First half of the seventeenth century. Messrs. Gregory and Co. 128

railing to the floor, and with nothing added beyond an outer lining to the column-bases. It appears to have once been the property of the Fairfax-Lucy family of Charleóte, but how it came into the Mayor's Parlour of St. Mary's Hall is not clear. Other furniture from this old Guildhall will be illustrated in a succeeding chapter tracing the development of oak chairs, when further details of the Hall itself will be given.

The table is of English oak throughout, with tops of six boards, tongue-jointed and mitre-clamped together. The oak is quartered, pit-sawn and roughly planed. The

Fig. 164. OAK CUPBOARD TABLE.

Date about 1630-40. Mcssr?. Gregory and Co.

Fig. 164. OAK CUPBOARD TABLE.

Date about 1630-40. Mcssr?. Gregory and Co.

construction is worthy of note, as it is so seldom that an early seventeenth-century table is to be found in this complete state. The draw-tops extend quite easily, in spite of the age of the table. Tusk tenons are fixed, in slotted dovetails, to the under sides of the extension slides or " lopers " to prevent these tops being entirely withdrawn. The frieze, in the form of a cushion-moulding, is deeply carved in strap-wood patterns, and is carried, in the solid rail, over the squares of the legs. Below is a square-moulded abacus, and the leg is in true columnar form, with taper and entasis, finishing in an Ionic base. The bases are beaded on the edge, but these beads are on facing pieces which have been added at a later date, presumably as a repair. The fluting and strapping of the legs is very fine in execution and unusual in detail.

Rare as this St. Mary's Hall table is, as much on account of its design as of its well-preserved state, the column-leg itself appears to have enjoyed considerable popularity in the early Stuart years. Fig. 147 is an ornate example from St. Michael's Church at St. Albans, with a later top and stretcher, and with the lower squares of the legs mutilated and added to. The carving is small in scale and low in relief, but is choice in quality. It is to be suspected that this table comes from a locality considerably to the south-west of Hertfordshire. Fig. 148 is a coarser edition of this column-leg form, but it is doubtful if any parts, other than the four legs, are original.

Fig. 149, from Holme Lacy, but not original either to the house or its district, is one of the large guardroom tables of the first quarter of the seventeenth century, of great size, possessing six legs, to which the framings are tenoned, and two on the central line of the

Fig. 165. OAK FOLDING-TOP TABLE.

Date about 1650.

Fig. 165. OAK FOLDING-TOP TABLE.

Date about 1650.

Messrs. Gregory and Co.

top, secured above and below by cross-rails from the framing and the stretcher. The turning of the legs is typical of East Riding work of this period. These large tables were beginning to become rare after about 1610, and carving began to^be either dispensed with altogether, or used with great reticence.

I11 a general way', tables of large size are usually of sixteenth-century date. "With James I, the Great Hall went out of fashion, and in the Long Gallery, tables were usually constructed according to the width of the gallery rather than its length. Examples,

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