Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table
Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table
Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table
Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table
Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table

Chinese Export Padouk Wood Games Table

c. 1790 China

Offered by Thomas Coulborn & Sons

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An oriental hardwood games table in the form of a sofa table. With a reversible panel top, which forms either a sofa table or a chess board. This top can be removed, slid out and slid into the fitted slots underneath, to reveal a gaming surface in the recess below. This interior surface is inlaid with ivory and black ebony, forming a backgammon board beneath. There is a shallow sliding drawer fitted below.

In the centre of the backgammon board, small black and white diamond-shaped devices surround a circular black and white medallion. Carl L. Crossman suggests that this interior, with the formation of the central medallion, is similar to that of a gaming box billed by Chippendale to Ninian Home at Paxton House in England in 1774 and the interior of a China Trade gaming table of the late 18th Century. He also states that: ‘The sofa table form, with drop leaves on either side and with or without a movable top for gaming or a gaming drawer, is known in several China trade as well as Indian and Indonesian examples. An immensely practical form, which could also be used as a writing or work surface, a tea or small dining table, the sofa table…undoubtedly had great popularity in the colonies of the Far East’. (Carl L. Crossman, 'The Decorative Arts of the China Trade: Paintings, furnishings and exotic curiosities', Antique Collectors’ Club, 1991, p. 234.)
Bibliography: A similar games table of comparable proportions is referenced in 'The Noel Terry Collection of Furniture and Clocks: Fairfax House, York' (York Civic Trust, 1987, p.118). This games table is also of sofa table form, with a sliding reversible panel and hinged side flaps. It is described as possibly Indonesian and dated circa 1800 (see adjacent image). The author, Peter Brown, states that: ‘Before the introduction of cards in the 15th century, the most popular games of chance were those of backgammon and chess, games known in England since before the Norman conquest. Proficiency at these was considered a ‘polite accomplishment’ for fashionable young and men of the Georgian era.’ He also notes that: ‘whilst the quality of this table is better than would be expected of an Indonesian piece, a Far Eastern source seems likely, given the unusual construction and jointing techniques used.’

The games box which Crossman references is illustrated in Christopher Gilbert’s 'The Life and Work of Thomas Chippendale' (Studio Vista, Christie’s, London, 1978, plate 407). Gilbert notes that the games board is ‘reverse marked for chess’ and was ‘[s]upplied (but probably not made) by Thomas Chippendale to Paxton)’. He states that it is surely: ‘the product of a specialist workshop; one can thus assume that the partners purchased this games board wholesale and merely invoiced it to their customer at a profit’ (p.272). Anthony Coleridge also refers to this games box in his work 'Chippendale Furniture: The Work of Thomas Chippendale and his Contemporaries in the Rococo Style' (Faber and Faber, London, 1968), plate 363. Chippendale & Haig made furniture for Ninian Home of Paxton House, Berwick-on-Tweed, during the 1770s. Coleridge describes the games box: ‘An ebony and ivory games-box with mosaic inlay which was invoiced in the Paxton House accounts as ‘to a larger size ebony and ivory backgammon table with ivory men, boxes and dice compleat … £4. 16. 0.’’ (p.209).

Two similar tables are illustrated in Carl L. Crossman’s 'The Decorative Arts of the China Trade: Paintings, furnishings and exotic curiosities' (Antique Collectors’ Club, 1991), pp. 236-7.
Height 72.00 cm (28.35 inches)
Width 67.00 cm (26.38 inches)
Depth 54.00 cm (21.26 inches)
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Thomas Coulborn & Sons

Thomas Coulborn & Sons
Vesey Manor
64 Birmingham Road
Sutton Coldfield
West Midlands
B72 1QP

+44 (0)121-354 3974
+44 (0)7941 252299
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