Side tables came into common usage from the late 17th century onwards and are still very popular today.
The antique tables, very much used for display, reflected the designs of the times and often it is the earlier examples that are exquisitely handmade by master cabinet makers of the day. A late 17th century antique table for example could be walnut oyster veneered, with intricate marquetry seaweed panels, oak barley twist legs and Y-shaped stretchers. The caramel coloured patinas that develop over 300 years or so only add to the superb craftsmanship to produce an antique side table that is highly sought after today.
Another later Georgian example would reflect Neo-classical design and could be demi-lune in shape and painted with classical motifs with painted roundels denoting some legend or other on the top, all painted onto a cream background which is then gilded round the apron and legs. The legs themselves would be tapered and fluted to produce a classically understated piece of antique furniture, again very popular in today’s market.
The Victorians had a side table for every room in the house. In the grander sitting and dining rooms, more elaborate tables would show off valued items or would be used for serving food, where quieter and sturdier examples would be placed in the hall and servants’ quarters. Many Victorians themed their furniture where it could be Elizabethan in the hall, early to mid 18th century in the drawing room and Regency in the dining room.
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