This post was originally published on internationalroutier.wordpress.com on November 21, 2011
To quote the V&A, “Folding tables, due to their versatility and ingenious design which allowed them to be easily moved, were extremely popular items of furniture, but rarely survive.” The few surviving examples broadly fall in to three different groups. The first is an X-frame, much like a larger version of the folding stool in the previous post, with a wooden top. The second, often called Spanish tables due to the theoretical (possibly mythical) introduction of the type into England from tables found in the wrecks of the Armada in the 16th century, is much like a trestle table with the trestles hinged to the top and the stretchers replaced with wooden diagonal braces. The third type is the chair-table, I’ll cover both styles in later posts.
Sixteenth century Italian folding table in the V&A Museum
There’s another, similar table from the Mary Rose (81A1708), and a rather excellent copy in-situ of an original in Stirling Castle (pictured below), showing a variation where the top is rotated 90° to the Italian and MR examples.
Reproduction of an X-frame folding table in the Queen’s Inner Hall in Stirling Castle. It dates to about 1540.
I won’t dwell too long on this style because it has been done rather well here, and I feel it is probably a little early for us.
Stay tuned for Spanish tables, and a chair that’s a table from behind and a chair from in front.