ENGLAND, circa 1790
The table fitted with a sliding fire screen, a drawer with ink wells and a pen tray, a writing slide, and an adjustable reading slope. Decorated with purple heart banding and kingwood cross-banding. Supported on tapering legs and set on original castors, formerly with a pull-out work pouch.
A similar satinwood work table of the same dimensions with mahogany stringing and brass handles, which is dated 1785-1800, is illustrated in Ralph Fastnedge’s ‘Sheraton Furniture’ (Faber and Faber, 1962), plate 50 (see image below). This table is in the Victoria & Albert Museum’s collection (Museum number: W.59-1927).
It is currently on loan to the Bath Preservation Trust and is on display at 1 Royal Crescent, Bath (see image below; http://collections.vam.ac.uk/item/O371928/work-table/).
In ‘The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book’, Thomas Sheraton’s design for ‘A Reading & Writing Table’, plate 44, published on 16th July 1792 (see image below), bears likenesses with our work table (Thomas Sheraton, ‘The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book’, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1972).
Sheraton’s design for ‘A Screen Table’, plate 43, published on 27th September 1792 (see image below) also reveals similarities of design with our work table, which is underlined in the accompanying notes: ‘This table is intended for a lady to write or work at near the fire; the screen part behind securing her face from its injuries. There is a drawer below the slider, and the slider is lined with green cloth.’ (Thomas Sheraton, ‘The Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer’s Drawing-Book’, Dover Publications, Inc., New York, 1972, p.93). Both Sheraton’s table designs include cross-banding, as in this example.