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Elizabethan Antique Tables

The gradual march of Renaissance ideas in antique furniture design is distinctively evident in the development of large sized tables in the Elizabethan era.

From about the last quarter of the 16th century legs of tables acquired a highly decorative and architectural aspect with considerable turning and carving producing cup shaped bulbs along the lines of Flemish designs in Europe with their acanthus carving and gadroons.

Elizabethan Dining Table
Elizabethan Dining Table.
An Elizabethan centre or dining table with bulbous legs, acanthus carving, and T stretchers; the frieze shows an arabesque design with roses.

Drop Leaf Tables

Some of these tables had two leaves or a draw or drop leaf mechanism which drew out to form extension tables often doubling the length.

Simple Drop Leaf Table
Simple Drop Leaf Table.

Early examples of these antique oak extending tables maintained a simple Gothic underframe while later models had friezes either carved or inlaid with geometrical designs.

"Refectory" Tables

For antique hunters it is to be noted that such Elizabethan drop leaf tables are often called refectory (monastic dining room) tables although, as so often with antique trade jargon, this is unlikely to be historically correct as monasteries in England, along with their refectories, were looted and destroyed in 1539, before draw leaf tables were made.

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