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Small Tables

The Carolean or Restoration era also saw a great variety of small, center, and side tables being made, whether for games, tea, writing, or display. The time was generally one where comfort, diversion, and entertainment were sought by the upper classes and such small tables as these suited this weltanschuaang.

Additionally, the playing of games such as dicing, ombre, quadrille, piquet, basset, loo, chess, and backgammon was popular and the players needed a suitable device on which to while away the hours.

Other tables had tray tops and were used as work tables for bead work, another popular pursuit of the age.

The most common type of small tables was rectangular topped held up on twist turned legs which were connected by sinous, winding x-shaped stretchers.

Small Table
Small Table, 1674. Marquetry of walnut, sycamore, ebony and other woods on a carcase of oak and pine with legs in solid elm.

For much of the mid seventeenth century such tables were rather plain and made of solid oak. However the tops of such tables became ever more elaborate and decorative after about 1670 with there being much use of oyster shell parquetry and veneering of walnut, olive, and laburnum.

Parquetry was sometimes used as a surround to a central square of marquetry, with brightly contrasting woods usually displaying depictions of flowers. Bone and sycamore stained green was then used to simulate leaves, heightening the decorative drama.

A few small tables also had scagliola with complex designs and pictures.

Table top with scagliola.

The development of such small decorative tables, both in their construction and prettifying, represents a good example overall of the trend in Restoration furniture towards the baroque style of furniture design and away from oak and more simple ornamentation.

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