Seldom do we come across a solid walnut Renaissance or Henri II style dining table in this condition or with as much detail. The long top has had a clarifying lacquer treatment to restore the color and uncloud the finish so the grain and character of the walnut is visible. As a side effect of this, any dings and scratches are now history, and it is in pristine condition.
The frieze just below the top has carved gadrooning (lozenge-like shapes), their patina made even more beautiful with time. There are acanthus leaves carved into each of the four corners, and at the join of the two top pieces as well. There are two main angular posts at the center on the ends under the top. These have floral motifs on them and carved into the wood above. These posts are linked by a double Romanesque arch to the two large turned columns on either side.
There are feather motifs carved into the arch above each column, and decorative incising on each column as well. They are attached to the end stretchers which have curved carved acanthus leaves at their ends, and curved elements just above the floor.
The main stretcher consists of a large walnut beam near the floor in the center, with five turned columns attached to six flattened Roman arches just below the top. We estimate that the table was probably made toward the end of the nineteenth century.
The thickness of the walnut and the classical features make this a sturdy and heavy piece of furniture. But the execution of all the carvings and turnings gives a sense of lightness and a sense of perfectibility that was a feature of the renaissance as well.
It comes with three inserts of 18 3/4" each in width, so that if all three were used the total length of the table would be 126 1/2" (about 10 1/2'). As was the fashion when this table was made, tablecloths were required, and so the inserts are neither finished nor of walnut.
Boccador, Jacqueline, Le Mobilier Français du Moyen Age à la Renaissance (Editions d'Art Monelle Hayot, Saint-Just-en-Chaussée, 1988); Thirion, Jacques, Le Mobilier du Moyen Age et de la Renaissance en France (Editions Faton, Dijon, 1998); Viollet-le-Duc, Eugène, Le Mobilier Médiéval (Georges Bernage, editor) (Editions Heimdal, 2003)
Ideal as it is for dining, it also embraces perfectly the recent trend wherein executives opt for a table in their office rather than a desk in the traditional sense as part of going paperless (no drawers required!).