13 Apr 2021
May 10, 2010 - Filed under: Antique Tables — Harriet

As was fairly typical during the Victorian and Edwardian periods, certain designs of furniture came back into fashion. A popular piece was the gateleg table that was now being mass produced to satisfy demand.

It was the tendency of a growing romantic movement to look back to pre-industrial days, and as far back as the 17th century when the earliest folding table, the gateleg, came into being. It was the flap of the table which opened like a gate to provide sturdy support which gave it its name. The table continued in popularity right the way through the 17th and into the middle of the 18th century and was eventually superseded by the drop leaf table, a finer piece of cabinetry made in mahogany rather than oak.

Its resurgence came about during the Victorian era. Antique furniture at the time was not prized particularly and was cheap to buy. However, a Queen Anne Revival in 1860 saw architect Richard Norman Shaw designing and building Queen Anne style houses in West London and the young middle classes who bought them wished to furnish them in the Queen Anne style. Initially there was plenty of cheap period Queen Anne furniture for sale, but historicism took hold and not everyone wanted what was considered to be ‘old’ furniture. Reproductions of the gateleg table were made therefore to satisfy demand and were still being made well into the 1930s.

These reproductions, or revival pieces, are generally stained to replicate 17th century patination and have machine made hinges and screws rather than tenon joints, and the barley twist legs lack the robust hand craftsmanship of period tables. Modifications were also made to period tables which of course has reduced their value today considerably.

When looking for period or revival gateleg antique dining tables in Preston , Lancashire, Cumbria or the surrounding areas, a reputable antiques dealer can provide guidance and background information on pieces.

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