Although mass production produced any type and style of furniture that Victorian households could possibly want, many pictures representing family life at the time often contain pieces of very old furniture like the gateleg table. There was an advantage to choosing old or antique over reproduction, in that it tended to be cheaper. Also, some Victorians, as a reaction against the growth of mass manufacture, were buying up these old pieces of furniture. We inherit our interest in antiques today in part because of the Victorian love of the historical look. In fact, antique furniture became so popular, that ironically the manufacture of reproductions had to speed up to fill demand. Other rather less commendable actions saw the breaking up of genuine old pieces, and Victorians were not averse to marrying new tops with old bases and carving old tops in attempts to create what they thought was an even more historical look.
Many reproductions of antique furniture like the gateleg table were made during the Victorian era however telling them apart from a period piece is quite straightforward. Reproductions were darkened to simulate patina and scuffs at edges of pieces will show light timber underneath. Also machined screws and hinges were used in construction and any turning on legs was more uniform than period hand turning. Determining a marriage from a period piece however may need a more trained eye.
Many fine examples of the Victorian and Edwardian gateleg table are still around today and the foldaway aspect of these tables make them ideal for modern use. When looking to buy reproduction antique dining tables like these, Lancashire dealers can advise you on age, quality and style.
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