Gate leg tables were made in all sizes. Some were low which doubled as stools. Taller ones were used as stands. Some of the larger gate legs had double gates and could seat up to 16 people. Large oval dining tables were found in many middle class homes, but after 1660 it was fashion in polite societies to use several small gate legs in one dining room, to accomodate a lot of guests in small parties to hold intimate conversations.
The construction of gate legs tables varied in detail, smaller ones only had one support at each end with a block or trestle foot. Some were made to completely fold flat and to be stored out of sight. The larger gate legs needed double gates to support the large leaves.
Chests of drawers during the 18th Century played both a decorative and utilitarian role, which suffered a decline in Victorian times. Relegated to the bedroom, its place was taken by chiffoniers and display cabinets.
Designers and manufacturers began to show equal reduction in the decorative treatment of chests of drawers, which made them become functional and plain. Although there was a degree of quality in the construction, the use of decorative veneers on the fronts of the drawers helped to break the solidity of Victorian Chests.
The whatnot is essentially a set of shelves raised on corner posts and with castor’s to make it mobile. Whatnot’s appeared between 1790-1800. Gillows of Lancaster record examples as early as 1790, usually they were made of mahogany or rosewood.
Whatnots are an occasional piece of furniture intended for the display of items which Victorians used to surrround themselves with ie china, bronze, glass or stone etc. Having a drawer in a whatnot also adds to the value
The name Canterbury is said to have come from one of the Archbishops who liked mobile furniture, possibly a supper trolley but also an atlas stand and now the accepted music stand, which is defined by term. The music Canterbury was always supposed to be mobile, mounted on castor’s. The early form which appeared circa 1800 was a restrained piece of furniture with flat divisions.
This canterbury is taken from the pages of Loudons 1833 encyclopedia, with the use of a military laurel wreath and “flying” dividers between sections
A Bonheur Du Jour is a type of ladies writing desk. Introduced in 1760 in Paris. These desks are light and graceful with a raised back of a cabinet, or small drawers. The back may sometimes close with a tambour, or have a fitted mirror. Early desks had slender cabriole supports but after 1775 most had straight tapering legs. Some bonheur du jours were mounted with Sevres porcelain plaques from 1766 onwards. By the mid 1770’s bonheur du jours were being made in London and named “ladies writing desks”.
A Welsh dresser was also known as a kitchen dresser or pewter cupboard. Traditionally dressers were kept in the kitchen to store and display crockery, pewter and silverware. Dressers were modified to suit needs. Dressers in Scotland may have had a tin lined drawer or “a porridge drawer”, where fresh made porridge could be poured and left to cool, later it could be sliced and taken for later consumption. Dressers were replaced in the kitchen by other pieces of furniture and later tended to be found in dining rooms, to store and display the dinnerware.
Antique roll top desks are a relative of the tambour front desk. Most having a series of compartments, shelves and drawers, covered by a means of a tambour, made of linked wooden slats that roll through slots in the sides of the desk. Roll tops could be mass produced and were the mainstay of small offices at the end of the 19th Century. Roll top desks are a popular antique especially with designers who want to re-create the “ambience” of offices during the turn of the previous two centuries
Carlton House Desks were designed in the 18th Century by George Hepplewhite for the Prince Of Wales, who later became George IV, named after Carlton House which was the residence of the Prince Of Wales.
Carlton House desks or writing tables are designed with small drawers and slopes which form a “U” shape around the user, as opposed to other desks. There are drawings of this type of desk in Hepplewhite’s famous design book “The cabinet maker and upholsterers guide”