Table tops had been frequently covered with a “carpet” or “cloth” of Turkey perform, coloured leather, or other supplies. The great oval table with folding sides in the “Excellent Rooms or Hall next the Banketing Property” had its cover of red leather bordered with blue gilt leather, reduce to match it, as are the table covers depicted by Abraham Bosse, where the cloth, which hangs virtually to the ground, is tied or buttoned at the corners.
Tiny tables for use in parlors varied in the shape of the top, which was oval, round, or octagonal. Closely comparable are the octagonal table, dated 1606, in the possession of the Carpenters’ Corporation, and Elias Ashmole’s table at Oxford. In both the slender bulbous legs are fluted, and the arcading is notched while in the Carpenters’ Company’s table there is a moulded surrounding and plain cross stretcher. Folding or flap tables, in which the flap is supported by a swinging leg, have been light in make, and often set against the wall until required. Such tables seem in the manuscript inventory taken in 1569 of goods at Tannis, in Hertfordshire, and in that of household stuff at Howard Property in 1598??.
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Oval and round tables had been substantially utilised in the seventeenth century.
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Dining tables have been massive and thick set, the baluster or bulbous legs being held by solid stretchers which served as foot rests. The frieze is frequently carved, or extra seldom, as in the draw-best table in the Victoria and Albert Museum, inlaid though at times the frieze is carved on the front only, the sides getting left plain. In late sixteenth-century stretchers there is a projection on the leading surface making it T-shaped in section, a kind which gives spot to a rectangular section in the early seventeenth century. The table leg shows the fullest development of the bulbous support. Building from the knop, the massive bulbous form was established in the late years of the sixteenth century and existed for virtually a century, for an oak table in the possession of Mr. Frank Green, dated 1668, has this bulbous gadrooned leg. An uncommon variant is the dropped bulb.
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The columnar leg appears in the last decade of the sixteenth century, and is specifically characteristic of the early seventeenth century. In some examples, as in the oak table in St Michael’s Church, St Albans, the leg has a quasi-classical capital. Baluster legs, turned and ringed, replaced the bulbous leg in the late seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. An elongated peg-leading help, ordinarily left plain and decorated with rings, was borrowed from Holland in the late seventeenth century.
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