Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.


  • Place of origin:

    England (made)

  • Date:

    1700-1725 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:


  • Materials and Techniques:

    Walnut, carved and veneered on oak

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 54, Henrietta Street Room

Object Type
This card table is designed to fold in half for storage against the wall. The supportive corner cabriole legs dispensed with the need for stretchers between the legs and created more room for the seated players. From about 1711 to 1750 the form of the card table changed very little.

Ownership & Use
Card tables opened up when required for use in the front parlour of the terraced house, or the drawing room or saloon of the grander metropolitan or country house. Four players can comfortably sit with their legs under the table and play cards without revealing their hands to each other.

Social Class
Card games were played by the upper and middle classes for education, amusement and money. The small sunken well on each side of the table could house the coins won by each player.Cards were the chief evening activity, as lighting was often too poor to read for long after dark. Cards were used for instruction in a wide range of subjects. Knowledge of the rules of fashionable games was taught in the mid-18th century by gaming masters. George II and Queen Caroline were devoted card players, the king's favourite game was 'commerce' and the queen's 'quadrille'.

Place of Origin

England (made)


1700-1725 (made)



Materials and Techniques

Walnut, carved and veneered on oak


Height: 38 cm, Width: 31 cm

Descriptive line

English 1700-20

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Benn, H.P and Shapland, H.P., The Nation's Treasures. Measured Drawings of Fine Old Furniture in the Victoria and Albert Museum. London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & co. Ld and Benn Brothers Ltd., 1910, p. 18, pl. 26.

Labels and date

ENGLISH: 1715 - 1730
Carved walnut with walnut and burr walnut veneers on pine and oak; tooled leather top, green baize gaming surface.

The lobed form of this card table frame is repeated in the shape of the top. Integrated into the design of the gaming surface, circular walnut veneer pads are set in at the corners. In addition, the opened top reveals deep oval compartments lined with walnut veneer to hold gaming counters. The form of the cabriole leg repeats the double curve as seen in the side profile of the chairs. The frame conceals a concertina action and locking mechanism which extends the frame to support the unfolded table.

Tables of this type were part of the after dinner social ritual, which included card playing, music, and the drinking of tea and coffee. These activities would take place in the drawing or "inward" room. Quadrille or card tables, and all other pieces of furniture were stored against the wall when the room was "at rest". [pre July 2001]
British Galleries:
Card games were popular with people of every rank but for young men and women in polite society the ability to play competently at fashionable games such as 'commerce' or 'quadrille' was an essential sign of elegant accomplishment. As a room for entertaining, this room is quite likely to have contained at least one card table. [27/03/2003]


British Galleries


Furniture and Woodwork Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.