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Arts and Crafts Movement Tables
The Arts & Crafts dining table was usually square or rectangular, often expanding, and followed the form of a traditional ‘farmhouse’ table. Woods were solid oak, mahogany or walnut, locally sourced if the piece was a product of one of the handicraft workshops, such as Arthur W Simpson of Kendal. Legs were turned and ringed, and as makers gained more technical assistance square tapering legs became very popular and a distinctive feature of larger firms such as Shapand & Petter and Harris Lebus. The latter is known for a design of leg that changed from square section to round – low down and just above the foot. The London retailer Norman & Stacey, who enjoyed Royal patronage, issued a catalogue showing a range of table tops, each with a choice of leg design. In the early 1900s the handicraft workshops such as that of Sidney Barnsley and others in the Cotswolds, produced tables with ‘hayrake’ stretchers and other more complex forms. The young Ambrose Heal featured this design trend in his Heals showroom in London’s Tottenham Court Road, later offering pedestal, and double pedestal forms, seen in the Philip Tilden design for the dining table made for Winston Churchill and on display at Chartwell, Kent.
There is an almost infinite variety of Side table, Occasional table and Centre tables found in Arts and Crafts designs. These are invariably in solid wood, usually oak, sometimes with modest carved or pierced decoration – heart, tulip, ying-yang and quatrefoil are all favourite motifs. Hall tables may have a low back in repousse work copper. Hallstands (coat stands) and umbrella stands displayed similar features.