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Breakfast table
  • Breakfast table
    Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779
  • Enlarge image

Breakfast table

  • Date:

    1754-1770 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:


  • Credit Line:

    Given by Brigadier W. E. Clark CMG, DSO through Art Fund

  • Museum number:

    W.64:1 to 3-1950

  • Gallery location:

    British Galleries, Room 118a, case 3 []

Object Type
Breakfast tables are first recorded in the mid-16th century. Henry VIII had 'a brekefaste table of walnuttree' in his Privy Chamber. In the 18th century, in fashionable circles, breakfast was usually eaten in the bedroom. From the 1730s, such tables were designed to include storage for the breakfast things, so they could also be used for writing and reading.

The table has two hinged flaps to provide an extended surface for the breakfast tray and a drawer to accommodate paper and writing equipment. The lower shelf is recessed to accommodate the legs of the sitter. It is enclosed in wooden fretwork which creates a decorative effect, although Thomas Chippendale (1718-1779) suggested the use of brass wirework as an alternative. The servant could thus see the used breakfast things and remember to clear them away later in the day. The legs are on castors so that the table can be easily moved and stored against the wall when not in use.

Ownership & Use
The breakfast table which Chippendale supplied in 1759 for John Stuart, Earl of Dumfries (died 1814) has a drawer fitted out with a sliding writing surface and with divisions for pen, paper and ink.


1754-1770 (made)


Chippendale, Thomas Sr, born 1718 - died 1779 (designer)

Materials and Techniques



Height: 72 cm, Width: 58 cm, Depth: 57 cm

Object history note

Made by an unidentifed maker following a design published by Thomas Chippendale (born in Otley, West Yorkshire, 1718, died in London, 1779)

Labels and date

British Galleries:
This table follows a design published by Chippendale in 1754. In 1756 another London cabinet-maker supplied a version of the design for Dumfries House in Scotland, three years before Chippendale's own firm supplied one. [27/03/2003]

Production Note

Made by an unidentifed maker following a design published by Thomas Chippendale




Furniture and Woodwork Collection

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