Folding Games Table
29 x 32 x 32
This 19th-century dark ebonized wood folding games table is typical of furniture pieces of the neoclassical period. Simple yet elegant, neoclassical furniture focuses on sophistication and clarity of form. While neoclassical objects do not display the same level of luxury as those associated with the Rococo and Baroque eras, their strong emphasis on symmetry make such pieces as the present one timeless. The table is raised on four elegant, slender cabriole legs. Gently carved flower designs adorn each of the leg tops. A similar flower pattern occupies the centre of the table’s base at the front. Graceful, curvy lines link each of the sides to the individual support columns. These delicate lines lend the table a relaxed, airy look. This table has a folding top that expands to allow participants to enlarge the playing surface and accommodate a variety of games. The leather inlay has been professionally restored and the entire table – dated to around 1800–1820 – is in very good condition for its age. A unique piece, this English side table would make a wonderful addition to a rec room.
At this time in London, the Matchgirls’ Strike of 1888 occurred. Prior to this industrial action, the employees of the Bryant & May match factory in Bow, London, had to contend with 14-hour work days, poor pay, and excessive fines, along with severe health complications caused by working with certain chemicals. Approximately 1,400 women and girls decided to strike after a worker was dismissed for not signing a document contradicting a recent news article written about the terrible factory conditions. The plight of the employees gained public attention, which forced factory management to concede to some of the workers' demands after a few weeks. This strike provided an impetus for other working class labour activists to set up unions, in a wave that became known as “New Unionism.”