A magnificent, Elizabethan, oak, drawleaf table
A magnificent, Elizabethan, oak, drawleaf table

A magnificent, Elizabethan, oak, drawleaf table

1575 to 1600 English

Offered by Lucy Johnson

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The original top is made from five, quarter-sawn, planks with cleated ends. The leaves are most likely 19th century replacements, made from old timbers, and in section with cleated ends. The gadroon, carved frieze is intersected with carved bosses in the centre and at the ends. There is an ionic capital above the pronounced, bulbous legs which are crisply, carved with acanthus leaves and gadrooning. The legs are joined by square stretchers with wear and losses. Excellent original, lustrous colour and patina. English, fourth quarter of the 16th century.

This particular table is as fine as one is likely to see. There is no question that the top is original to the table, and the leaves are 19th century, replacements using old timber. I believe that, as these tables so rarely come onto the open market and the price reflects this, that it is an acceptable repair. This table is typical of drawleaf tables that were made from about 1585 to the end of the 17th century. ' The bulbous or vase-shaped legs were of Flemish and German origin, introduced into England by immigrant craftsmen and through published designs such as those of Dietterlein and De Vries. In early examples, the vase-shape is very pronounced, the bulbs being often carved with acanthus and gadroons, and terminating at the junction with the frame in small, Ionic volutes.'

' During the 17th century the bulbous supports gradually changed in character, becoming less pronounced, while the legs finished top and bottom with ring mouldings (Dictionary, Figure 12). The frames were carved with flutings or strapwork in low relief, or inlaid with a chequer pattern in various woods.

The immovable character of these early examples caused them to descend through many generations in the same family, and Evelyn observes in a familiar passage that both in hall and parlour long tables " were as fixed as the freehold " '. Consequently drawleaf tables still survive today in situ some of the great collections, such as Hardwick Hall, while others have passed into the hands of museums such as the Treasurer's House, York.

Closed Length 177 cm., 5 ft., 9.50 in., Extended Length 320 cm., 10ft., 6 in.
Width 86 cm., 2ft., 10 in., Height 82 cm., 2ft., 8 in.,
Dictionary of English Furniture, Tables, Dining and Hall
Figure 9 illustrates a drawleaf table with similar bulbous supports in the V & A Collection. Figure 6, illustrates a drawleaf table, of which only the base survives, in the Burrell Collection with similar bulbous suppor
Lucy Johnson

Lucy Johnson
Mailing address: Bartons Lodge
Berry End
Eversholt
Burford
Bedfordshire
MK17 9EB
England

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