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The Game Table, this stranger

Posted By: Di Mano in Mano Coop - Athina In: Antiques On: Comment: 0 Hit: 1256


estiges of past epochs, evidence of obsolete customs and habits… Ancient objects are now more than ever arousing great interest.

Antiques are a fascinating and mysterious world, all to be investigated and discovered.

In this regard, we have decided to dedicate a series of insights to the topic to highlight its particularities and curiosities that we will publish periodically.

The first appointment with the Classic is dedicated to an interesting piece of furniture that has fallen into disuse.


t is a piece of furniture that no longer appears in modern homes, except with a merely decorative function: the Game Table.

Born in the Middle Ages, the game table underwent several evolutions until its almost definitive disappearance in the 20th century.

Before the reign of Louis XV, any table could be used for the purpose: it was enough to place a velvet or linen and voila cloth over it, the table was ready to welcome endless games of cards or drafts.

The Cardsharps - Caravaggio, Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth


t was only in the eighteenth century, the golden age of French furniture, that the table acquired a specific function based on its use.

It is said that Marie Antoinette, the then Queen of France, had a real addiction to gambling, and was certainly not the only one ... Much of the French nobility considered gambling as one of the main forms of entertainment.

So it was that the major craftsmen of the time created highly specialized tables, specially designed for the most popular games: chess, checkers, the beloved tric-trac and so on.

Chess Game - Giulio Campi

These were very refined pieces, often very elaborate; the most interesting were modular, equipped with secret drawers and compartments.


he real protagonist of this period was the semicircular Game Table.

Open it could host up to seven players, at the end of the games, the table was folded and placed against the wall where, minimally bulky, it took on a decorative function.

Louis XVI style furniture is considered among the most beautiful ever made; simple and refined, characterized by classic and elegant lines.

They stand in stark contrast to the asymmetry and abundance of decorative elements from the Rococo and Louis XV.

A key element is the recovery of the themes of classical Greek and Roman culture, which translates into linear forms, geometric composure, symmetrical and evocative decorations of the ancient world.

Characteristic of this period are the lounge, game, tea and coffee tables, contained in the volumes and with thin legs with a square section, which have tapered cone or pyramid-shaped feet.

Following the French Revolution there will be a further stiffening and simplification of the furnishings.

TGame Table in our Cambiago shop

The Directoire style will become established (of which the Game Table of the image above is a splendid example).

With a rather rigid elegance, it maintains the classic forms of the Louis XVI period, emptying itself of inlays, of elaborate bronzes.

Mahogany with its austere but imperial color slowly becomes the most popular and requested wood (which will become one of the characteristic features of the Empire era) without much frills.


t will be in the Empire period that the furniture will return to be enriched with all those sculptural symbols linked to the Roman Empire and the figure of Napoleon.

After the fall of the Napoleonic Empire there will be a further development of this type of furniture that will respond to the need to furnish the houses of the new bourgeois class.

As always we are already working on the next appointment of the week: if you have any suggestions or suggestions they are welcome.

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