How much worth do you place on an engraved antique dining table ? Lancashire residents may remember Punch, the famous magazine of humour and satire, which ran from 1841 to 2002. Punch, or the London Charivari, saw many changes in its time, but one thing remained constant – the Punch Table. Now installed at the British Library, this iconic antique dining table was once the most famous in London – and it was remembered this week in the Daily Mail, on the “Answers to Correspondents” page.
Punch Magazine is a British icon. It’s thanks to Punch that we gained the word (and, indeed, the art form) of the cartoon as we know it today. During its long history, the Punch pages featured the work of some of the world’s greatest comic writers and cartoonists; William Makepiece Thackeray; P. G. Wodehouse; Tenniel, E. H. Shepard and many others. Later, members of the Royal Family and celebrities such as Sir Anthony Hopkins became invited guests. And all carved their initials on the famous Punch Table.
The Punch Table made its first appearance around 1855, when it was decided the weekly staff meeting (which took place over dinner) should move from a pub to the office. In 1865, the table moved premises, and got its own banqueting hall. Each week staff, editors and guests would sit at Victorian dining chairs to enjoy a good meal and – over brandy and cigars – plan the next issue. At some stage, it was decided the idle carving of initials should be encouraged. The rest is history.
Antique dealers in Preston and Cumbria have antique dining tables and Victorian dining chairs very similar to those of the Punch “board room.”
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