Card and games tables

Boards for playing games such backgammon and chequers have been used from Tudor times. But it was only after restoration of English monarchy in 1660, under Charles II, that tables were made specifically for games. Most card tables were rectangular with flap that opened up to reveal playing surface. On early examples lining tended to be velvet or needlework: baize became popular only in early 1700s. When not in use, the flap was closed up and the table pushed against the wall. In Neo-Classical period, semicircular card tables – the top opened to provide a circular playing area become popular, and all tables were decorated with marquetry or crossbanding. Several mechanisms were design to support the card table flap. Which one was chosen for particular table depended on when it was made and the quality of the piece.  Special tables were made for both games and cards. They usually had well for playing backgammon and reversible sliding top with chess board marked on it. Since card and games tables are decorative, compact in size and useful they are highly sought after.

Victorian walnut card table – photo 1,2                                                                                            Decorated with highly figured burr walnut veneers, this fold over card table has rather attractive cabriole legs. Although such flamboyance was popular in Victorian times, most card tables rested on a central pedestal. C1850

William IV rosewood games table – photo 3,4                                                                                  Finely carved frieze and figured grain to top. The hinged and swivel mechanism was sturdy 19th century invention. C1830

Regency mahogany card table – photo 5,6                                                                                      Attractive figured mahogany top with carved and projecting elegant legs. The early example of two hinged legs to support flap. C1810