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Hepplewhite Sideboards

The first two examples of these antique sideboards have drawers and are familiar to us today. The first is very elaborate - designed with a centre of serpentine, rather than bow, shape, and with canted inner legs. Table linen was meant to be stored in the long drawer with the side drawers and compartments being meant as receptacles for plates and cloths, for bottle racks, and a lead lined container for holding water to rinse glasses with.

It was customary in the eighteenth century to do the washing up in the dining room.

The remaining pictures show an older type of sideboard which was designed to be the centrepiece of a larger set of furniture including pedestals & vases and knife display cases.

These sideboards without drawers were often straight fronted and standing on four square, tapered legs while decorative effects such as carving, inlay, and painting were usually restricted to the frieze and legs.

¶ The great utility of this piece of furniture has procured it a very general reception; and the conveniencies it affords render a dining room incomplete without sideboards. Of those with drawers, we have given two designs; the first, on plate 29, shows the internal construction and conveniencies of the drawers; the right hand drawer has partitions for nine bottles, as shown in the plan; the partition is one inch and a half from the bottom; behind this is a place for cloths or napkins the whole depth of the drawer.


¶ The drawer on the left hand has two divisions, the hinder one lined with green cloth to hold plate, etc, under a cover; the front one is lined with lead for the convenience of holding water to wash glasses, etc., there must be a valvecock or plug at the bottom, to let off the dirty water; and also in the other drawer, to change the water necessary to keep the wine, etc, cool; or they may be made to take out. The long drawer in the middle is adapted for table linen, etc.

¶ Plate 30 shows a different design on the same construction.


¶ Sideboards are often made to fit into a recess; but the general custom is to make them from 5 and a half to 7 feet long, 3 feet high, from 28 to 32 inches wide.

¶ Plates 31, 32, 33, 34, are designs for sideboards without drawers; the ornaments to the fronts of which may be carved, painted, or inlaid with various coloured woods.

Sideboard Sideboard
Sideboard Sideboard

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