Satinwood Inlaid Writing And Dressing Table
In the possession of Messrs. A. B. Daniell & Son. 3 ft. high 2 ft. 4 ins. wide (when closed) v I ft. 10 ins. deep. Date about 1790-5.
decorated on an elaborate plan, the workmanship and the material used in this wardrobe are both poor in quality. The backs are of common deal, and much of the sat in wood is veneered on pine.
- 304 is a good example of the higher class of furniture which was made shortly after 1790. This wardrobe has the same graceful " swan-necked " pediment as in Fig. 303, but the general proportions and the judicious assorting of the woods used for veneering and inlay have been much more carefully studied.
- 305 is one of the combined dressing and writing tables which were made in numbers at this date. Sheraton describes this type as a " harlequin " table in the Drawing Book, a name obviously suggested by the rising back, which is counterweighted -or rather overweighted—and when released by touching1 a spring suddenly rises into the position shown in the illustration. Sheraton illustrates a very complicated mechanism to attain this result, neglecting the very obvious method of counterweight -ing adopted in this and in nearly every other specimen of these harlequin tables found at the present day. So much for the difference between theory and practice. This table is veneered with West India satinwood, inlaid with festoons of green marqueterie, the tops when closed showing ovals of engraved holly surrounded by similar ornament as on the drawer fronts. The rising writing slope is lined with old velvet and strutted underneath to permit of it being supported at various angles. Receptacles are provided on either side—on the left for ink and wafers, on the right for pens. Immediately under is a sham drawer, below which is one fitted with a square-framed toilet mirror and divisions for patches, powders, and cosmetics. The small and very pretty ring-handles are of brass, and were formerly silvered, although all the plate has now worn away. The legs are tapered on the inside only, and finish in small cast01s. The tambour front is made to slide to right and left, and is hollowed 011 the front so as to be out of the way of the person sitting at the table. These enclosed dressing-tables were made indifferently for male and female use, the only difference being, as a rule, that those made for the former sex were fitted with extra drawers fitted for spirit decanters. In a later chapter on the work of the house of Gillow an example will be given, from the original cost-books of that firm, fitted in this way, provision being made in the estimate of cost for decanters and glasses. One would have thought, considering the late, or rather early, hours to which the drinking-bouts of our eighteenth century ancestors were protracted, and that it was regarded as an ungentlemanly act or a sign of effeminate upbringing not to finish the carouse under the table, or to be able to walk unassisted to the bedroom, that such fittings to the dressing-table would have been regarded as a superfluity. Perhaps they were invaluable on the morning after, on the common curative principle of " taking a whisker from the dog that bit you."
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