Tables And Sideboards Part 4

With the French Revolution styles in furniture altered very much. When Napoleon came on the scene they altered still more, particularly after his victories in Egypt had called his attention to Egyptian orna ment. About 1800 a style was evolved called " Em pire," which was heavy and ornate, with none of the tables and sideboards graceful lines and delicate ornament of the previous century to recommend it. This style was freely copied by both the English and the Dutch, the latter adapt ing it to their excellent standards and turning out much handsome furniture. The English, on the other hand, made their Empire furniture very heavy and added much brass, both cast and wrought, in which was seen the influence of that style of decoration which had been so popular during the reigns of Louis XIV, Louis XV, and Louis XVI.

Fig 18 A Sideboard with Serving-Leaves. Fig. 19 Empire Sideboard.

Fig. 20 Sideboard with Curved Front. Fig. 20U Brass Lamps with Drops. Fig. 21 Dining-Table with Carved Feet.

In Figure 18 is given an English rendering of the Empire style, and shows a very plain and solid side board, with a sparing use of gilt at the tops and bases of the pillars. It has leaves which will draw out on the sides, for the use of the caiwer, and a rising back. It is made of mahogany and is not veneered. It is a good, plain piece of furniture, but is distinctly inferior, from an ornamental point of view, to those pieces which have preceded it.

In Figure 19 is given a much more ornamental piece, with richly carved legs and pillars and handsome pan elled doors. This style, which is on the Empire order, is sometimes called " Colonial," which is manifestly wrong, since that term rightly belongs only to furni ture made before 1776, and this was not invented till about 1800, long after our Revolution.

A pattern of sideboard which was popular about 1810 is also given, the glass knobs being thought quite "the thing " by the housekeepers of those days. A fine dining-table with heavy carved feet went with such a sideboard, and was often of mahogany. (Figures 20 and 21.)

In addition to these tables, which were distinctly for dining-room service, there were others, which could be found in different parts of the house, and were used for various purposes. I have no doubt that those most in use were the numberless little work-tables (see Figures 23, 25, 26) at which our grandmothers sat, laboring often far into the night to complete the many garments which had to pass through their hands, when neither sewing-machines nor " ready-to-wear " clothes were to be obtained. I have heard an old lady who had a family of ten children, seven of them girls, say that she made thousands of buttonholes every year, until each girl grew big enough to be taught to make her Own. But if they used the work-tables pretty steadily during the day, some evenings in the week were de voted to a game of cards, and many handsome tables were sent here from England, like those in Figure 22. Hepplewhite and Sheraton made delicate and elegant ones, still to be found in many homes. Most of these" us tables are ornamented with inlay, the familiar husk pattern " running down the legs, which so often tap ered to a spade-foot, or had a piece of whitewood let in a few inches from the floor. These tables generally closed Over on the top, so that they could be set against the wail when not in use. Rosewood card-tables were made in this country, elegantly carved and covered with baize on the top, but the Hepplewhite and Sheraton tables have usually plain wood tops.

 Fig 22 Card-Tables. Fig. 23 Work-Table Fig. 24 Pie-crust Table.

The little work-table shown in Figure 23 is inter esting because there is one exactly like it at Mount Vernon, standing in the room in which General Wash ington died. The " Dutch foot," a name which is given to this style of turned-out foot, is by no means common on tables, though it was often to be found on chairs. This table, like the one at Mount Vernon, is of mahogany, like the so-called " pie-crust table also given in Figure 24. The old pie-crust tables always show the marks of the carving tool along the edges of the crust, while the modern ones, and there are many of these latter, are sandpapered down so as to be perfectly smooth.

The most modern of all these tables are to be seen in the last three illustrations. The one with the wooden bag (Figure 25) is not at all pretty, but it is quaint, and I know of only two or three such. This is made on what would be called Sheraton style, and from a fine piece of mahogany.

The Empire table with brass-tipped feet (Figure 26) is a choice specimen of its type, and in fine condition, while the papier-mache table (Figure 27), in addition to the painting in the centre, has a border of inlay. chiefly of mother-of-pearl.

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The Collector's Manual by N. Hudson Moore, Amy Richards. New York: Frederick A. Stokes Company, 1906.

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