Renaissance bailiff table

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Origin
North Netherlands
Period
C. 1650
Material
Oak, ebony veneer
Dimensions
85 x 112 x 73 cm
Literature

Loek van Aals & Annigje Hofstede, Noord-Nederlandse meubelen van renaissance tot vroege barok 1550-1670, Houten, 2011, p. 415

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Description

A North Netherlandish oak bailiff table on four turned balusters or flattened spherical legs joined by profiled Y-shaped stretcher, standing on block-and-ball feet. This base carries a wide frieze drawer, which can be closed with a lock. Below the top and pull-out table tops there is another storage space, accessible from above. The entire table is richly decorated with profiled frames and ebony inlay.

The bailiff table, or tenant's table, was common in the German-speaking areas of northern and central Europe. This type of table as a functional piece of furniture was first introduced in the Northern Netherlands in the 17th century. In contrast to the regular draw-leaf table or spherical-legged ‘bolpoottafel’ table, these tables had a drawer that could be locked and a table top that could be folded up or could be slid open. Thus, one could reach a hidden space where valuables and papers could be kept. This table can be dated after 1640 because the sliding principle has already been abandoned and, like the regular ‘bolpoottafel’, it has two extendable table tops.

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