A Remarkable Late 16th/Early 17th Century Oak Trestle Table
The framed top, made from a magnificent 3-inch thick single elm board, sits on a very substantial oak trestle base. The two chamfered uprights, morticed into shaped horizontal supports to carry the top, and a similarly shaped foot at the base for it to stand on.
The end supports are joined by two stretchers, the upper one secured by massive dovetails, sits just beneath the top, whilst the bottom stretcher with shaped ends, continues through the uprights and is secured by substantial oak wedges.
A couple of notes regarding construction – the top is still “loose” to the base, and has never been fixed, retaining a lovely dry surface underneath, but still with signs of use. It is not unusual for this type of table to have a “turnover top” where the underside was used for carrying out domestic chores, and the upper side to dine from.
The massive piece of elm used for the top would suggest the table was made in or around Dorset, where elm was often used in both building and furniture making – the elm trees here grew into extremely large specimens. The base however remains in oak – a much harder, denser and more durable timber, elm would have drawn the damp up from the floor, thus causing deterioration and rotting.
Dorset, circa 1580-1620.
Length 8 feet 2 inches in length, width 32.5 inches, height 32 inches.