Illustrated History of Furniture eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 221 pages of information about Illustrated History of Furniture.

A brass rail at the back of the side table with ornamental pillars and branches for candles was used, partly to enrich the furniture, and partly to form a support to the handsome pair of knife and spoon cases, which completed the garniture of a gentleman’s sideboard of this period.

The full page illustrations will give the reader a good idea of this arrangement, and it would seem that the modern sideboard is the combination of these separate articles into one piece of furniture—­at different times and in different fashions—­first the pedestals joined to the table produced our “pedestal sideboard,” then the mirror was joined to the back, the cellarette made part of the interior fittings, and the banishment of knife cases and urns to the realms of the curiosity hunter, or for conversion into spirit cases and stationery holders.  The sarcophagus, often richly carved, of course succeeded the simpler cellaret of Sheraton’s period.

Before we dismiss the furniture of the “dining room” of this period, it may interest some of our readers to know that until the first edition of “Johnson’s Dictionary” was published in 1755, the term was not to be found in the vocabularies of our language designating its present use.  In Barrat’s “Alvearic,” published in 1580, “parloir,” or “parler,” was described as “a place to sup in.”  Later, “Minsheu’s Guide unto Tongues,” in 1617, gave it as “an inner room to dine or to suppe in,” but Johnson’s definition is “a room in houses on the first floor, elegantly furnished for reception or entertainment.”

[Illustration:  Urn Stand.]

To the latter part of the eighteenth century—­the English furniture of which time has been discussed in this Chapter—­belong the quaint little “urn stands” which were made to hold the urn with boiling water, while the tea pot was placed on the little slide which is drawn out from underneath the table top.  In those days tea was an expensive luxury, and the urn stand, of which there is an illustration, inlaid in the fashion of the time, is a dainty relic of the past, together with the old mahogany or marqueterie tea caddy, which was sometimes the object of considerable skill and care.  One of these designed by Chippendale is illustrated on p. 179, and another by Hepplewhite will be found on p. 194.  They were fitted with two and sometimes three bottles or tea-pays of silver or Battersea enamel, to hold the black and green teas, and when really good examples of these daintily-fitted tea caddies are offered for sale, they bring large sums.

[Illustration:  A Sideboard in Mahogany with Inlay of Satinwood.  In the Style of Robert Adam.]

The “wine table” of this time deserves a word.  These are now somewhat rare, and are only to be found in a few old houses, and in some of the Colleges at Oxford and Cambridge.  These were found with revolving tops, which had circles turned out to a slight depth for each glass to stand in, and they were sometimes shaped like the half of a flat ring.  These latter were for placing in front of the fire, when the outer side of the table formed a convivial circle, round which the sitters gathered after they had left the dinner table.

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Illustrated History of Furniture from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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