Brown furniture often gets a bad press, but for entertaining, whether it be Christmas or any other celebratory event, the table is often the key to bringing everyone together. With COVID-19 in our midst, festive entertaining and the Christmas meal may be rather depleted this year, but a table is not just for Christmas, it can see families through generations of fun and entertaining and with antique tables has already done so. The antique furniture dealer members of The Cotswold Art & Antiques Dealers Association are sharing their entertaining ideas on Instagram @cadaartandantiquesassociation and on the newly updated website at www.thecada.org
all through the month of December.
Even if there are just two of you this Christmas, Moxhams Antiques from Bradford-on-Avon shows us that George III mahogany pedestal dining table, circa 1820, which can be extended with three loose leaves (£28,500), can be just a perfect fit for two at one end. Moxhams Antiques has topped its table with a few pieces from its extensive early 19th century ironstone dinner service, comprising 114 pieces (£2,850) and surrounded it with a set of eight George III mahogany Hepplewhite chairs (£9,850). Alternatively, utilise the extensions on a table to keep you socially distanced. Prichard Antiques in Winchcombe has a fabulous extending cherrywood French farmhouse table glowing with warm honey tones. When closed, it seats six, but doubles in length with chestnut leaves allowing for wider spaces between you, circa 1840 (£3,650).
W.R. Harvey & Co (Antiques) Ltd, Witney has embraced the small table challenge packing this particularly rare mid-18 century mahogany oval breakfast table with its one piece solid mahogany top, not glued together planks (£4,500), circa 1760, by packing it full of festive treats of fruit, mince pies, Xmas pud, biscuits, chocolates, nuts, stollen and lebkuchen for two to enjoy sharing over the holiday. Why not add a special pair of antique toasting glasses (£2,200 the pair) from Mayflower Antiques?
Joining in with their own take on dining for two is specialist art dealer Haynes Fine Art that likes to make sure that there is fun for everyone to enjoy when visiting the extensive galleries in the picturesque village of Broadway.
Of course, there are other important items to bring the table to life and add a little decorative glamour in these restrictive times such as an impressive 24 place setting silver cutlery set made by William Hutton & Sons Ltd in London, 1899/1901, which comes in its original canteen from Howards Jewellers in Stratford-on-Avon. Enjoy just using two place settings for now and bring out the full set for all to use when restrictions ease. Add a fine pair of Baroque silver candlesticks (£18,000) or collectors may be particularly interested in two Charles I silver dessert stands by Thomas Maundy (£37,500) from Mayflower Antiques. Use a couple of flutes from the rare set of six engraved with OXO borders on diamond cut facetted stems for the champagne from Delomosne & Son Ltd in North Wraxhall, near Chippenham; they will sparkle in the candlelight (£2,600 the set) and some of the set of six jelly glasses, circa 1800 (£265 the set) for dessert. Someone with a small appetite may enjoy the straight sided custard cup, circa 1820 (£55). For the wine connoisseur or FOMO hosts W.R. Harvey & Co (Antiques) Ltd suggests a George III period oval or hexagonal mahogany wine coolers (£2,950 each) to save having to leave the room to get more cold drinks from the fridge.
Legge Carpets from Summertown, Oxford has plenty of textiles to act as table coverings amongst which is a late 19th century Persian Yazd silk ikat panel with a cypress design, backed on fine printed cotton of the period measuring 178 x 107 cm, (£1,250) and, of course, there is their extensive range of carpets and rugs on which your table could sit adding more colour to the room.
If you are fortunate to have other members of family or friends at the table, you can even create games like guess the age, maker or country of origin all centred around the table display.