Friday, December 7, 2007

Dining tables

Mes Amis,

Bonjour and welcome to today's visit to l'Ecole du Bon Goût.  Today’s subject is dining tables.  With the holiday season in full tilt whirling all around us, it might be a relief to focus on a holiday tradition that really does go back farther than jingle bells do: Dining “à table” can be the true “bon goût” high point of the holiday season.

Finished dining tables are a fairly modern invention when it comes to looking at the big picture of the history of dining.  They are a late 18th century invention!  Previously, practically all dining tables were, even for the kings of France, simple “saw horse” like supports called “treteaux” which were  used to support a top or tops of unfinished planks of wood which were always covered with a generous (usually to the floor) white tablecloth.  One can see these illustrated, at least as far back as 11th century in depictions of the Last Supper.  There are even three or four early Louisiana treteaux tables known to me.

The invention, in the late 18th century, of a finished dining table with leaves was revolutionary and caught on very rapidly with nearly every household of sufficient means, having one, usually in walnut, mahogany or oak.  This is no surprise since they are so versatile, converting to many different sizes by means of adding or subtracting leaves.  They are on wheeled casters, so they are easy for one person to move them about; however, most importantly, they are just the most dramatic piece of furniture you could have in a dining room.

Here at Au Vieux Paris Antiques, we have in stock six late 18th century extension dining tables, ranging in length from 13 to 10 feet, one fixed round table, one folding square table, as well as a very ancient set of treteaux with a 19th century top.

Also Patrick Dunne of Lucullus Antiques in New Orleans and Breaux Bridge always has a tasty selection of dining tables available for purchase.

Find following a selection of tables in stock here followed by two photographs of completely outfitted dining rooms, one Louis XIII and one early 19th century.

Dine “à Table du bon Goût” this Holiday season.

Please feel free to contact us with any questions or requests you might have by telephone (337) 332-2852, e-mail, or visit our website at

Mes Amities,
Robert E. Smith

Visit the Au Vieux Paris Antiques homepage (click here)
Browse a sampling of the merchandise available (click here)

Mes Amities,
Robert E. Smith   (337) 332-2852

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