M. Markley Antiques



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Antique Tables and Desks
Gothic, Renaissance, Henri II, Louis XIII, Louis XIV

For prices, additional photos, and more information about each item, CLICK on the photo, plus check out our page of Recent Arrivals.

For more information about the history of tables, scroll down below the photo gallery.


#5219 - Renaissance Draw-Leaf Dining Table

 #4110 - Gothic Dining Table (Extended with Leaves) 


 #5112 - Gothic Dining Table and Six Chairs


#5135 - Gothic Dining Table in Oak (extended to 90 inches) 


#5181 - Renaissance Library Table in Walnut

#5209 - Gothic Library Table (Draw-Leaf) in Oak
#5182 - Renaissance Table in Walnut
#5115 - Renaissance Library Table in Oak with The Fair Melusine and Venus

#4112 - Renaissance Dining Table -- Drawleaf Design in Oak

#5130 - Renaissance Croix-de-Lorraine Dining Table (Draw-Leaf) in Walnut)
5109-renaissance-writing-table #5109 - Louis XIII Side Table in Walnut
#4136-gothic table
#4136 - Gothic Side Table in Walnut
#3304 - Renaissance Croix-de-Lorraine Table
#3304 - Renaissance Croix de Lorraine Table in Walnut
4176-italian-dining-table-italian-executive-desk #4176 - Renaissance Dining Table or Executive Desk in Walnut 
9211-dining table

#9211 - Country French Dining Table (extendible) and 6 Chairs in Walnut (leather covering)
#4137 - Walnut Dining Table or Executive Desk
#4107-gothic table
#4107 - Gothic (Henri II) Dining Table in Walnut
#4104-Walnut Side Table with Inlaid Top
#4103-Henri II Side Table in Walnut

4188-Italian Renaissance Dining Table #4188 - Italian Renaissance Dining Table in Walnut

#3303 - Renaissance Desk
#3303 - Renaissance Desk in Oak
#9219 - Henri II Style Desk
 #9219 - Henri II Table Desk in Walnut

#3210-Renaissance Library Table
 #9210 Renaissance Library Table in Walnut with Fleurs-de-Lys



#9280 - Louis XIII Style Desk
#9280 - Louis XIII Table or Desk in Walnut
#9310 - Louis XIII Style Table
#9310 - Louis XIII Table in Walnut
#9451 - Gothic Dining Table with Extensions
#9451 - Gothic Dining Table in Oak with Extensions


4131-Renaissance floor lamp
#4131 - Oak Floor Lamp Table

#3223-Henri II Octagonal Table
 #3223 Henri II Octagonal Table in Walnut


#5126 - Farm Table in Walnut 

#3308 - Italian Renaissance Dining Table
#3308-Italian Renaissance Dining Table or Executive Desk

9218-table-desk #9218 - Renaissance Table or Desk


4190-gothic-dining-table 4190-gothic-dining-table
#4190 - Gothic Dining Table and Six Chairs



#4135-dining table
#4135 - Oak Dining Table with Walnut Inlay
4171-Italian walnut dining table
#4171 Italian Renaissance Table with Lion Motifs



#3229-Flamboyant Gothic Desk
 #3229 Flamboyant Gothic Desk



About Tables

Tables were perhaps the earliest indicators that a nomadic existence was waning in Medieval Europe.  Large planks on saw-horses gave way to fabricated tables with central stretchers descended from the communal tables de monastère or refectory tables used in the dining halls of  monasteries.  Making possible shared meals and socializing cemented the importance of the table from the dawn of European history through to our own time.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the primary functions of the table were for eating and for displaying items.  It was not until the Renaissance that tables began to be designed for more specific functions such as gaming and writing.  As commerce played a more important role and cities grew, tables intended for a distinct commercial purpose, such as changing money or writing contracts, became more important and their design more elaborate.  Drawers were introduced in the band just below the top and the bureau-plat was born.  The term bureau comes from bure, a high-quality cloth draped over tables used by the keepers of the accounts at large estates and intended to distinguish it from the homespun, coarse woolen cloth used by less prestigious functionaries.  By the early 17th century the term bureau had come to mean not only the reinforced cloth but also the table to which it was attached.  From there, the person who sat at the table became the bureaucrat, giving rise to the institution known the world over, both collectively and pejoratively, as bureaucracy.

For residential uses, tables took on various forms.  Most popular in the Renaissance was the "library table," whose width was approximately half its length, supported by a trestle of connected arches over an "H" shaped stretcher.  Developed in Italy and known in France as the table à l'Italienne, it was inspired by tables made from marble in ancient Rome and called a cartibulum.  Designed for pride of place in a library, these tables were magnificently carved from the finest, old growth walnut.  Among the most beautiful were those of Jacques Androuet du Cerceau, whose engravings of tables and other furniture designs inspired generations of craftsmen.

The reign of Louis XIII saw the popularity of the writing table or bureau-plat with four legs in the form of torsades or twisted columns.  Some of these tables were so large that they could fill the role of a modern dining or kitchen table.  By the time of Louis XIV's long reign, tables were finding new forms such as ovals, circles and consoles, with more elaborate decoration.

During the 19th century, enthusiasm for furniture of the Middle Ages and Renaissance led designers to revive the styles of dining tables popular in the earlier periods but with additional emphasis on architectural features such as Gothic arches and tracery or Renaissance columns and arches.  The revival also placed great emphasis on the beauty of the wood comprising the table top.  Before the 19th century when the making of textiles was industrialized and prices dropped precipitously, the table had been less important and valuable than the cloth covering it and so there was little interest in what the top looked like.  Aspects of this continued into the 20th century when leaves or extensions to tables were unfinished and of lesser quality wood with the expectation that they would be covered by a cloth when in use.

Other forms of tables include the guéridon, a heavily-carved circular or octagonal top mounted on a central pedestal.  Its cousin, the sellette, is taller and slimmer - designed to function as a pedestal or stand for objects such as ceramics, silver, glass, or a candelabrum for illumination.

It was not until modern times that such functional tables as the coffee table or end table and the night stand developed and so Gothic and Renaissance examples (or even their 19th century revivals) do not exist.  While we have seen 19th century copies of ancient tables "modified" by shortening their legs to become coffee tables, we cannot condone this barbaric practice.

Smaller tables are readily adaptable for uses in modern homes.  For example, the small table once known as a writing desk due to its central drawer for stowing stationery and ink, now serves better as a table between two beds or as a stand-alone table at bedside considering that mattresses are taller and therefore closer to the height of these tables.




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