ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Small Antique Tables

Updated on July 18, 2009

After the Renaissance period, artisans no longer carved episodes from the lives of the saints or the cycles of romance, for these were superseded as decorative material by the fashion for classical mythology. During the quattrocento period in Italy (1400-1500), sumptuous tables of every description was executed at the bidding of the Medici and other patron princes. The cassone or marriage chest was particularly important and was highly decorated. The fashion for gilt grounds, pietra dura work, that is, the inlaying of slabs of colored and richly veined marbles, and tarsia, or certosina work, or marquetry (inlaying) of wood in geometrical patterns or floral designs, came quickly into vogue and spread rapidly across the Alps to other countries. During the reign of Henry VIII, Jean de Mabuse and Holbein introduced Italian fashions into England, and in France, as the result of the infiltration of Italian craftsmen, a mass of heavy and rich table was made. The frequent use of strap-work and the cartouche, which characterizes the Henri Deux style, is peculiarly French.


The Jacobean and Restoration styles, though overshadowed by the great floraison in table which marks the 18th century throughout Europe, evolved directly from the Elizabethan solidity, and were marked by increased use of upholstery, the evolution of present types of chair from the old, box-like structures, the appearance of simple sofas and gate-legged tables. Carving, though still abundant, became lighter and walnut began to come into its own. Under William and Mary, the Dutch influence brought a notable increase in comfort. The upholstered wing-chair (which has lasted till today), the slant-top desk, corner cabinets for display of china, all now made their appearance. Queen Anne table included secretaires, grandfather clocks, tallboys and lowboys. Dutch marquetry was especially popular.

Throughout the 18th century Chinoiserie had become increasingly popular and many tables were produced in an 'Anglo-Chinese' style. The publication of Edwards and Darly's New Book of Chinese Designs, 1754, and William Chambers' Chinese Designs, 1757, stimulated interest. Eventually Chinoiserie became over-exaggerated and unfashionable.

At the turn of the 17th and 18th centuries, the French ebeniste Andre Boulle, who owed his excellence in marquetry work (referred to as 'boulle' or 'buhl') to Florentine and Venetian craftsmen, exercised great influence. Boulle belongs to the Louis Quatorze period—the armoire in the Jones' collection at the Victoria and Albert Museum, South Kensington, London, is a beautiful example of his work—but though this period and the succeeding ones, the regency and the Louis Quinze or rococo, afford much that is both sumptuous and elegant, the cabinet-maker's art reaches its high-water mark just before the French revolution, that is, in the reign of Louis XVI.

In the Victoria and Albert Museum may be seen some splendid specimens of the work of Rontgen, Riesner and Gouthiere, who enjoyed the patronage of Marie Antoinette. Gouthiere was the chief founder and chaser of his day, and used to mount in ormulu or bronze-gilt the elegant commodes and cabinets which the other two had made. These men turned their backs on the frivolous, rampant vagaries of apostles of the rococo school such as Meissonier, Cressent and Pineau, and developed a beautiful restraint and delicacy accentuated by their preference for the classic forms. Thus the 'riotous curves' of the du Barry period gave place to medallions and the straight-lined patterns, which heralded a purer style.

The transitional work between the restrained classicism of Louis XVI and the heavier Empire style is known as Directoire table, and shows a gradual loss of delicacy and increasing use of Roman motifs. The Regency styles were much affected by the Directoire interpretation of classicism, but they were more severe, stiff and formal. Pedestal base tables were popular, chairs with Greek circular backs, sofas with rolled ends and bookcases with metal grilles. Mahogany and rosewood, black lacquer, gold banding and marble tops were fashionable. Two important publications of Regency designs were Thomas Hope's Household table & Decoration, 1807, and George Smith's Collection of Designs for Household table & Interior Decoration, 1808. Egyptian motifs became an important feature of the Regency style.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)