A rare English Queen Anne period walnut games table, ca 1705.
Of superb, deep colour and patination.
Nb. With the fashion for more intimate living beginning with the Queen Anne period (1702-1714), we find much increased demand for smaller furniture. This table dates from ca 1700 when gaming had developed further into a highly popular diversion for the wealthy. It is rare to find tables of this form made in walnut – the majority are in oak.
At this time the enthusiasm for tea, coffee and chocolate drinking grew enormously, for which small movable tables were much in demand.
Of special interest are the beautifully-shaped stretchers and the hint of a ‘Spanish foot’, a possible late result of the influence of Catherine of Braganza (1638-1705). An example of this foot can be seen illustrated in English Furniture Of The Eighteenth Century, Herbert Cescinsky, George Routledge & Sons (1911) vol. I, p. 22, ill. 20.
Occasionally tables following this form are incorrectly referred to as ‘credence tables’, more for ecclesiastical use and specifically for the celebration of The Eucharist. These would mostly have been very austere, and larger.
The round top conveniently enabled the inclusion of extra players. Furthermore this design allowed the table (when not in use) to be folded and placed out of the way against a wall. On this lovely antique example the well (retaining its original lock) would have been for the storage of cards, cash, dice, pistol and counters. Note also the fine surface patina built up over 300 plus years.
A much more ornate (and slightly later) walnut games table was offered by Christies London in May 2015 est. £8,000 -12,000.
‘The Present State of Old English Furniture’, R.W. Symonds, first published in 1921, fig. 30, col. 1 (Duckworth) London.
Ralph Edwards CBE FSA in his Shorter Dictionary of English Furniture, Hamlyn (Fourth edition 1972), p. 518, ill.3 & in the V&A Museum, London.