A Pretty 18thC Continental Black Japanned Work Table c.1790

Origin: Probably Dutch/Flemish
Period: Late Eighteenth Century
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1780-1800
Width: 17 inches
Height: 29.25 inches
Depth: 11.5 inches (all at extremities)

The black japanned pine side table with slender legs united by an x-shaped stretcher the top having a hinged lid decorated with a hand-painted landscape with a figure and large stone urn upon a lake setting, to an oval reserve opening to reveal a compartmentalized interior, the whole surviving from the last quarter of the eighteenth century.

In slightly tired but thoroughly charming condition the table has a few scuffs here and there but no major damage. There is a good deal of consistent craqulure to the top japanned surface which is beautiful displaying the nice worn patination to the ebonized surface which has been gathered over two hundred years.. The compartmentalized interior has three sections and is slightly tired with the hinges both later replacements and some gaps in the base. There is a nice worn patination to the ebonized surface which has been gathered over two hundred years. We have given her a clear wax coat.

This pretty table was used as a work or sewing table for the stowing of threads and needles. Before the eighteenth century, a seamstress had to keep her needlework in a work basket or bag. It was cumbersome and messy. The sewing table was developed as a result. In the beginning, they were elegant little tables with a flip-up top and silk work bag slung underneath rather like this example though with no bag. Before the invention of the sewing machine, these tables were often used for other activities including basket-weaving, crochet, macramé and even painting. In fact, the sewing table was commonly referred to at the time as a work table. By late Georgian London, the marketing of sewing tables expanded to appeal to middle class homes too. By the mid-1800s, the new ‘sewing machines’ were in common use, and sewing table design was altered to include them. We feel the table is continental, probably Dutch/Flemish due to the way the hand-painted scene to the hinged top is depicted.

A versatile and lightweight piece of mid-Georgian period furniture that is both pretty and useful, now making for a good entrance hall or bedroom piece.