Catalogue Description Sample

Catalogue Description Sample

Lot 1074

A William And Mary Oak Gateleg Table

CIRCA 1689 - 1702

The oval top is raised on a narrow frame with paired, elaborately turned supports on moulded plinths linked by a central stretcher, on paired scrolled feet; the twin gates have moulded rails and turned posts, and the frame is braced by moulded diagonal struts.

Estimate £16,000 - £18,000

70cm x 32cm (closed) or 108cm (open) x 103cm

This rare table is a development of the much simpler single-baluster and panel-ended gate leg tables made in England from c.1650 onwards. They are characterised by a very narrow centre board hinged to deep leaves, giving the maximum surface area when open while occupying least possible space with closed. A well-documentated example of the panel-ended version, dating from c.1670, survives at Ham House, Surrey, and baluster-ended examples survive in considerable numbers. However, only a handful of these more sophisticated variants are known.

The table is made entirely from quarter-cut oak, probably Dutch, 'wainscot' oak, and the construction is unusually precise. Despite its delicate appearance it is strongly made, with foxed through-tenons used to join the gates. The moulded X brace could be an afterthought, however, because the one weakness of the design is that there is no proper frame beneath the top, which allows the table to rack if treated roughly; many tables of this form have braces fitted to counteract this problem. The use of screwed hinges, rather than nailed, is another indication of quality.

The quality of the table’s construction is complimented by its detailing. The maker was clearly well versed in the Classical orders; the mouldings are architecturally correct, with abacuses to the tops of the pillars and a full cornice moulding immediately beneath the top. the turnings to the end pillars are unusually complex, and reflect to some degree the turnings found on contemporary caned and upholstered chairs. This is clearly a sophisticated urban product, probably London made.

Interestingly, the narrow bed, deep leaved table was revived in the 19th century as the so called ‘Sutherland’ table.


Adam Bowett, English Furniture 1660-1714 (Woodbridge, 2002), pp.106-108, Figs 4: 1-4:4; Victor Chinnery, Oak Furniture – The British Tradition (Woodbridge, 1979), pp.306-07, Figs 3:215-3:224.


Previously from the collection of Tom Burns,
Lot 755,
The Rous Lench Collection, Volume Two, Furniture and Works of Art, Sotheby’s London, 3rd, 4th and 7th July 1986.

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