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Architects’ Table, English, c. 1770
Made in 1/12th scale by Wm. R. Robertson, 2014
This is a type of table found in a gentleman’s library for drawing or displaying manuscripts or books. This utilitarian table is made in a simple Chippendale style popular during the Georgian period. The features include squared straight legs with internal Tuscan columns ending in brass castors. The internal edges have delicate molding on the inside of the legs and aprons. Upon unlocking the lock with a tiny key, the front of the table including the front of the legs opens to reveal a leather covered writing surface. This has two half-moon handholds to help push it back into the body of the table, exposing the inside of the drawer fitted with compartments and dadoed together. The top edges are detailed with cupid’s bows. The trade label in the back compartment is printed on 18th Century paper. True to that period and the high cost of printing, it contains a scratched deletion due to a change of address.
To the right side is a small hidden dovetailed drawer, often used to contain ink. A pair of candle trays pull out from each side with cyma curves, allowing the light emitted from the candles to be as far forward as possible, thereby illuminating the working surface without shadows. Robertson discovered this feature, among others, while sitting in his candlelit study examining two of these full scale tables. When a spring-loaded button latch on the opposite side is pushed, it allows the table top to tilt upwards. There’s a hinged rest that fits in a series of carved notches to hold the top in position. One of the most fascinating features of this table is the book rest. When the table top is in the down position, the rest is retracted leaving a flat surface for drawing. When the table top is tilted upward, the rest rises up to prevent books or papers from falling off the slanted surface.
The miniature is made of Swiss pear wood, it is fully jointed with mortice and tenons, dowel, dovetail, dado and other joints. The moldings are cut with specially-made cutters. The hardware, including lock, latch, castors and spring mechanism, are all machined out of brass and steel and function like the originals. The tables are stained and have a hand-rubbed lacquer finish. There is an engraved name plate on the bottom of the piece. The table is also signed on the hinges and label.