large and detailed gothic dining table came to us when we purchased part of an
estate in Bordeaux, France. Included were six chairs, a magnificent buffet, a
chandelier, a fireplace and this table. Its top has had a clarifying treatment
to uncloud the finish and reveal the grain and color of the walnut, and is now
extraordinary. As so often happens, the leaves used to extent the table had been lost along the way. To give this
table a new life, our master woodcarver has created two leaves to match the
original table top so that the extend length is almost 9 feet to comfortably accommodate 12 people.
In order to makethe insertion of the leaves and the extension process work smoothly, the table has been retrofitted with a
modern German stainless steel sliding mechanism that can be used easily by one
person instead of the two or three needed to wrestle the original system
apart. Detailed photos of this mechanism are shown below.
The top is supported by four large and thick, smooth columnswith carved foliage near the top (and almost invisible without extra effort).
The columns are connected to angled side stretchers that join a central one.
Rising from this central stretcher is a panel of Gothic arches within arches, resembling
the designs seen in Gothic cathedral and one of the most
distinctive elements of the Gothic style. Just above this fenestrage is one of
the other classic Gothic elements, a small linenfold panel.
While dinners in France still involve extended tables covered with a cloth -- the reason why leaves were rarely of the same beautiful walnut as the rest of the table top -- modern American dining rooms require large tables with extended tops whose leaves match. In this case the rich patina of the old growth walnut carries over to the leaves and the result is a magnificent top that should never be hidden!
In one of those rare moments in this business, the original creator's paper tags are
still attached to the underside of the center stretcher. The ebenistes (wood
craftsmen) were Meubles Robert in Nantes in Brittany. They also made the other
pieces for their client in Bordeaux, including chairs, fireplace,
lighting fixture, and buffet
cabinet. We estimate that the pieces were probably made around
As withall of our offerings, this magnificent table is perfectly suited to include in
a country house, castle or chateaux, as its Gothic style is a perfect
complement to Renaissance, Louis XIII styles and Louis XIV chairs, so often
found in these luxurious spaces.