As with most examples of Victorian antique furniture, the later examples of the small tripod table tend to be much sturdier than earlier 18th century Georgian examples. This small piece of antique furniture originated from the candle stand where the three feet of the tripod created stability for the stand. This overall stability proved popular and the tripod table was used extensively for entertaining and typical Georgian examples are made from mahogany, often have raised piecrust tops, a turned stem with the three cabriole legs ending on ball and claw feet.
The Victorian examples of these antique tables became heavier, more elaborately decorated and often veneered. Tops could be square and octagonal as well as round, and the stem of the tripod tended towards being thicker and more heavily carved than the earlier Georgian pieces. Often there was an ornamental baluster at the base of the stem to counterweight the top which created a secure and well balanced table. The cabriole leg was still used during periods of revival of earlier styles with acanthus carvings on the knees. The ball and claw foot could be replaced with finer scrollwork and a generally lighter foot. Sometimes circular platforms and plinths at the end of the stem almost obviated the need for the three feet.
As the tripod became sturdier, the tops of these tables became larger and grander and were often more elaborately decorated than their plainer Georgian counterparts. In earlier examples the top could also be tilted for convenient storage but the Victorian tripods generally were too heavy for these fragile folding mechanisms. Gilded and heavily decorated papier mâché versions also became popular from the 1840s onwards. Later revivals harked back to lighter Georgian and Regency designs.
Fine examples of Victorian tripod antique tables can be found in good antiques dealerships in Lancashire, Cumbria and other parts of the UK.
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