Antique Walnut Miniature Tea Table
Antique Walnut Miniature Tea Table
With the lasting beauty of heirloom furniture, this exceptional Antique Miniature Tea Table is exquisite in every detail.
Found at market in London, this hand-crafted piece dates from the mid-1800s and was most likely the skilled work of a furniture maker's apprentice. The elegance, scale and balance of the table all demonstrate the craftsmanship and attention-to-detail required to build the fine furniture of that era.
With the classic hallmarks of French Empire style, this handsome piece is made of richly stained solid walnut with an octagonal top supported by a beautifully turned pedestal. The pedestal stands confidently on its three-footed base.
Rich in antique splendor, this captivating miniature table will certainly become a beloved addition to your home.
Strictly one-of-a-kind and subject to prior sale. In very good antique condition. Circa 1850. 6"H x 6.5"D. Please note, the miniature silver compote sitting on top of the table in the alternate images is not included. If interested in also purchasing the compote with fruits and vegetables, please call the shop. The wine bottle is intended to show scale.
Learn More About Miniature Furniture
Miniature furniture has long fascinated collectors both in Europe and America. It is important, however, to note the difference between various types of miniature furniture. Some furniture was made for use by children in the nursery, such as stools, tables and the still commonly found child’s chairs, approximately half size. Doll’s house furniture, approximately 1/10 to 1/12 (to full size), were not only play pieces, but larger examples were used to teach young ladies household management.
The collector of miniature furniture however, is usually interested in pieces of 1/8 scale, which may have been masterpieces, apprentice pieces, models, samples and show pieces. In 18th c. France, young men were apprenticed to Masters who were members of guilds. Usually the apprentice learned his trade for six years and made pieces under the Master's tutelage for a further three years.
While full size examples of furniture were more commonly made for examination in 18th century France, by the 19th century, miniature examples were used.
In England, under the Statute of Artifices of 1563, a man could by law only become a master craftsman after serving an apprenticeship of seven years. It was stated that “Until a man grows into 23 years, he for the most part, although not always wild, is without judgment and not of sufficient experience to govern himself.”
Surviving finer pieces of miniature furniture point to a craftsman showing skills as if for examination and approval. For example, a chest of drawers can have complicated inlays, crossbanding between and on the drawers, working locks, gilt brass handles, and an interior revealing shaped drawers and cupboard, etc.
In England, miniature furniture was used as advertisements in shop windows of furniture makers and retailers. A potential purchaser could examine the piece and discuss extra cost details, such as further inlays or choice of woods such as oak, walnut or mahogany. Equally important was the traveling retailer going to the small town or country house where the customer could be shown a miniature example, the viewing of a three dimensional example being more effective than only sketches or drawings.
Further 18th and 19th century miniature pieces were made for particular purposes. For example, miniature pianos opened to reveal a work box interior, or miniature chest of drawers were used as cosmetic cabinets.
Whatever the reasons for the existence of miniature furniture may be, they do have great appeal in just being tiny versions of a full sized piece. And then wondering if an apprentice boy made it for practice and perhaps gave it to his sweetheart? Did a child play with it, as a very special toy? Or is the attention to scale and detail so perfect as to make it a sample to tempt customers to order a full size one? Perhaps it is the mystery unsolved that holds the key to the attraction of miniature furniture.
*Miniature Furniture history courtesy of Andrew Jenkins of Incollect