“Work tables” with small drawers or a lifting top, disclosing a well and fitted with receptacles for reels, shuttles and bobbins etc were not introduced before the second half of the 18th Century and were one of the many specialised forms characteristic of that age. In the list of Catherine Of Aragons effects, taken after her divorce there is an entry “2 working stools of Iverye, belonging to the same” which may have been a kind of work table, as this queen was an accomplished needlewoman. In the late Georgian Periods work tables were sometimes constructed with folding flaps, which when turned back disclosed a chess board, others had a chess or backgammon board to draw out. George Smith in “Household furniture” 1808 gives several designs for ladies work tables with chess/backgammon boards
A Fine Example of a Victorian Work Table/Games Table
Among the accessories introduced for the service of the dining table in the second half of the 18th Century, were stands designed to hold knives, forks and spoons. These stands like dumb waiters, were used when service in the dining room was dispensed with and especially at informal supper parties
Cupboards made for the corners of a room were fitted with solid or glass doors. Corner cupboards were known in the first half of the 17th Century and is proved by a reference in Charles I inventory to “one little three cornered cupboard”, but they do not appear to have become general until the reign of William And Mary. At that time they were introduced as receptacles for china, particularly for the highly prized tea services used for the hostess’s weekly receptions for tea and cards. In the early 18th Century corner and alcove cupboards frequently formed part of the deal panelling of rooms. By about 1750 glazed china cabinets were becoming plentiful and consequently corner cupboards with the exception of one particular type ceased to be fashionable. In the second half of the 18th Century corner cupboards were mainly confined to cottages and farmhouses, thus remaining almost unaffected by the development of successive fashions.
The word borrowed from the French “chiffonier” is defined as a piece of furniture with drawers in which women put away their needlework. In France a chiffonier was a tall chest of drawers, made in large numbers from the second half of the 18th Century onwards. The earliest reference in England to the chiffonier occurs in the accounts of Chippendale for furniture supplied to Mersham Hatch. When an inventory was taken of the contents of Bedford House after the death of the 3rd Duke in 1771, “her grace’s dressing room” contained “a small chiffonier table with drawers and a brass rim”.
There is then an interval of about fifty years before the chiffonier is figured in English Trade catalogues of the early 19th Century. Chiffoniers illustrated in George Smiths household furniture 1808, as low shelved cupboards.